Things you need to know about the new draft Local Plan
On this page you will find information on the Local Plan, what it is and why we are updating it.
A local plan shapes and manages the future development of land and buildings within the plan area. It sets out detailed planning policies and specific proposals for the development and use of land in a local area, authority or district and guides decisions on planning applications.
The creation of a new Hastings Local Plan provides an opportunity to refresh the existing statutory development plan to deliver on council objectives and community priorities. It will set out the council's strategy for growth and new development in Hastings. It will also include detailed development management policies setting out the form development in Hastings will need to take and any measures required to reduce the impact of development.
The Local Plan sets out the vision for the future of our borough until 2039 and plans for development. It also sets the basis for the council's plans and projects over the next 20 years. It will provide a 'brief' for the development industry setting out the amount, location and type of development required, and the requirements that developments will be expected to meet.
It will be used mainly by investors, developers, infrastructure providers and the council's planning officers. But its importance to our town goes wider, because the plan should address the needs of businesses, residents and visitors
We will be asking for your views on the plan through consultation.
We are updating it as the Local Plan needs to respond to changes in the local economy and environment but the main reason for updating it is the Government's new National Planning Policy Framework published 2019.
The new national method for calculating housing need means Hastings has a starting point for the new plan of 430 homes a year. This is about double our last Local Plan housing target.
All local authorities in England have a housing need target. In some areas there will be an expectation of going above this target and helping the housing need of neighbouring authorities.
The plan will aim to shape and inform development and use the council's development management powers to enhance it. The plan will be the legal starting point for deciding planning applications in the borough. But, the delivery of development lies largely with other organisations including the development industry and infrastructure providers.
The plan provides an outline for good development, one that highlights and is informed by Hastings communities' priorities. It needs to set the rules for new development but also offer space for creativity by developers. It needs to be flexible enough to deal with technological, social and environmental changes over the lifetime of the plan.
No, the plan is not going to be all about housing, although we know there is a need for more affordable homes in Hastings with the widening gap between wages and housing costs. This is not the only big issue.
The Local Plan needs to deal with multiple issues and there will be difficult decisions as the plan will need to create a balance while also good quality development that meets local needs.
Here's just some of the issues the policies will need to address:
- Delivery of housing and sustainably designed homes
- Maximising the delivery of affordable housing
- Addressing climate change and low carbon agenda
- Maintaining a thriving economy - addressing skills, pay and seasonal jobs
- Sustainable transport, creating opportunities for more walking and cycling
- Healthy places, promoting more active lifestyles
- Protecting and enhancing the environment
We are required to submit the Local Plan and supporting evidence documents to the Government to be examined by an independent planning inspector.
The Planning Inspector will assess the 'Submission Local Plan' and decide if it accords with national planning policy objectives and requirements. If it does, only then can it be adopted by the council.
If the plan is found ‘sound’ and can be adopted, this will need to be approved by full council because all members of the council have a stake in it.
The key to writing new planning policies is evidence. The Local Plan can be ambitious, but it also must be realistic. This evidence informs, and in some cases limits the policies that the council can follow.
The Local Plan therefore must be supported by strong evidence. Here are some examples of the types of studies involved:
- Housing and Economic Land supply
- Housing & Employment Needs Assessment
- Retail needs
- Open Space study
- Strategic Flood Risk Assessment
- Renewable Energy & Low Carbon study
- Traffic modelling
- Gypsy & Travellers’ Needs Assessment
- Playing Pitch Strategy
- Infrastructure needs
- Ecological studies and assessments
National and international law and policies will also affect and shape the plan policies, for example, nationally 'listed' buildings or Sites of Special Scientific Interest. We also need to coordinate with Plans in Rother, East Sussex County Council and the wider area.
Policies must also be supported and justified by evidence testing, looking at whether they are practical and sustainable.
We adopted a Planning Strategy in 2014 and in 2015 The Development Management Plan followed. These included planning policies and identified developments sites, some of these have already been built. We had also created a draft Area Action Plan for Bohemia and the Town Centre in 2018.
We are now working to replace all of these documents and create a new single Local Plan document.
Want to know more about the Local Plan and get involved?