About The Local Plan

The Local Plan sets out the vision, strategic objectives and overarching development strategy for the growth of the District over the period to 2040.

It provides the planning policy framework to guide the future development of the area, addressing needs and opportunities for housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure, as well as the basis for conserving and enhancing the natural and historic environment, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and achieving well designed places.

What is a Local Plan

The Local Plan is at the heart of the planning system and, alongside the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan and ‘made’ Neighbourhood Development Plans, forms the statutory development plan which provides the framework for all planning decisions to be judged against.

The new Local Plan, once adopted, replaces the Core Strategy 2010 and the Land Allocations Plan 2015, as well as saved policies from the 2002 Local Plan.

What is the Plan making process

The key stages of the plan making process are:

  1. Evidence gathering: To inform the preparation of the Local Plan the Council has commissioned and completed a substantial and wide-ranging evidence base.
  2. Regulation 18 Draft Local Plan: The Draft Regulation 18 Local Plan was published for consultation on the 20th January 2021, for a period of 8 weeks. In total over 3,000 comments were received on the Draft Local Plan from over 1200 individuals and organisations.
  3. Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan: The Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan is currently being produced. This will be published for consultation in the future.
  4. Submission of Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Examination
  5. Examination of the Local Plan by a Planning Inspector
  6. Adoption of the Local Plan

The timetable for the Local Plan is set out in the Council’s Local Development Scheme

How has the Plan been prepared

The preparation of the Local Plan has been informed by stakeholder and community engagement, discussions with neighbouring authorities and other relevant bodies under the Duty to Co-operate, the development of an evidence base to support the Plan and other relevant Plans and Strategies. The Plan has also been subject to a Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment, which have helped shape the overarching strategy and policies in the Plan.

Consultation on the Local Plan has been carried out in accordance with the Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement

Relationship with Neighbourhood Plans

The district currently has 7 designated Neighbourhood Areas. The Neighbourhood Plans for these areas are at various stages in their evolution, with the Ash and Worth Neighbourhood Plans now adopted and forming part of the development plan for the District.

The Council will work closely with designated neighbourhood planning groups producing Neighbourhood Plans to ensure that the Plans are consistent with both national policy and the new Local Plan in order that they may pass the 'basic conditions' test that Neighbourhood Plans are subject to at their examination stage.

Neighbourhood Planning groups are advised to liaise with the Council in early stages of plan making to set out the aims and ambitions of their plan, their timescales for plan production and to agree the relevant ‘strategic’ policies for their area.

For more information visit the Council’s neighbourhood planning page.

Plan Monitoring and Review

The Council is committed to monitoring the implementation of the Local Plan to assess delivery of the strategic objectives and the individual development proposals. The Local Plan will therefore set out a number of monitoring indicators to assess the effectiveness of the Plan moving forwards.

In order to report effectively, the Council is required to produce an annual Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) which assesses the overall performance of planning policies. Specific site development monitoring already takes place on a rolling annual basis through the housing and commercial information audits, which are used to inform the AMR. The AMR also provides up-to-date information on the implementation of any Neighbourhood Plans that are in progress or have been made.

The Council’s latest Authority Monitoring Report is available to view here.