Local Planning Authorities are legally required to produce Local Development Plans, which indicate how and where development should take place within their area. Communities can also produce Neighbourhood Development Plans, which inform how Local Development Plans are delivered. The good news is that as a local resident you can have a big say on what is included in these plans
Neighbourhood Development Plans are a powerful tool which gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. It is a fantastic opportunity to you to make sure you get the right types of development for your community and secure enhancements for wildlife.
The Government requires that Local Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Plans include policies that outline how they will safeguard and enhance the environment. These environmental policies can be very ambitious, as long as they don’t prevent the plan from delivering Government targets for residential and commercial development.
For example, if a community decides that all developments in their area must deliver Green Infrastructure to the Building with Nature Standards, this could become a policy that all developers have to adhere to. Similarly, if you wish to avoid development on all traditional orchards in your area, this could also become a policy.
If you are interested in finding out how to influence your Local Development Plan or Neighbourhood we recommend taking the following steps.
Find the existing Local Development Plan for your area
Here are the links to the where you can find a copy of the current plan for your area. The Local Development Plan may have different names in different areas, including a Core Strategy, Local Plan or City Plan. These plans will tell you what environmental standards developments are required to deliver. If you have concerns that a development is not meeting these standards, speak to your local councillor.
Stroud District Council
Find out if your community has a Neighbourhood Development Plan
Some communities in Gloucestershire have already produced a neighbourhood Development Plan and the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council keep a list of these. See if your community has one and when it is due to be reviewed.
Find out when you Local Development Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plans are due to be reviewed
Most Local Development Plans are reviewed every 5 years, but the consultation process takes 1-2 years. There is no requirement to review Neighbourhood Developpment Plans but it is sensible to update them when the Local Development Plan is reviewed.
Propose policies that will support nature’s recovery as part of the review of your Local Development Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plans
Both types of plan must consult residents on what policies they wish to be included and this your chance to act. Consultations are normally posted on the Council website and supported by local events. The more support there is for a policy the more likely it is to be included in the plan. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust recommends that you respond to consultations with the following policy requests.
All developments must deliver measurable biodiversity net gain.
All developments should contribute towards nature’s recovery in Gloucestershire by protecting and strengthening ecological networks, as defined by the Local Nature Partnership’s Nature Recovery Network.
All major residential and commercial developments should deliver high quality Green Infrastructure, achieving the Building with Nature Benchmark standards.
Developments should ensure protection of internationally, nationally and Locally Designated sites, including Local Wildlife Sites. There should be no net loss of area or condition of these sites and buffer zones should be implemented around them to eliminate the impact of development.
All developments should include a Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) scheme to reduce flood risk and create wildlife habitats.
Professional monitoring of biodiversity enhancements to demonstrate that they have been achieved should be a condition of all planning applications.
What to do if your community does not have a Neighbourhood Plan?
Contact your Parish Council and ask if they would be willing to develop a Neighbourhood Development Plan for your community. There is government funding available to help communities bring in expert help to do this. Gloucestershire Rural Community Council has useful information on how to start a Neighbourhood Plan.