Cabinet to Consider Review of Borough's Blueprint
South Tyneside Council's Cabinet is to consider a review of the spatial options for the emerging Local Plan.
The plan provides a blueprint for future development, setting out where new homes, businesses, shops and leisure facilities will be built over the next 15 years. It ensures that growth is delivered with the right infrastructure, such as roads, public transport and health and community facilities, in place to support it.
The Council consulted on a pre-publication draft Local Plan in 2019. However, it has become clear that more work was needed to identify appropriate land for housing because of deliverability issues of some sites and because of significant objection to the draft plan. As such, the Spatial Planning team has recommended that the strategic spatial options should be reviewed, and a new plan is drafted.
The risk of continuing with the current strategy is that the next iteration of the Local Plan could be declared unsound by an Inspector.
Cllr John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: "It's crucial that we get this right and that the plan delivers maximum benefits for new and existing communities.
"We have a statutory obligation to meet our government housing targets but we must balance this with residents' views, the reality of delivery and forthcoming planning policy.
"The current annual targets for the provision of new homes in the Borough are not being met, meaning that the Local Plan will have to make up this under delivery of housing.
"The stark reality is that the current draft plan will not meet our needs. We need a rethink, and importantly we need the people of South Tyneside to work with us. I want to thank everyone who has had their say so far and I encourage people to engage with the next part of this process."
The report to cabinet recommends that the Council reassess its existing spatial options including development in urban areas only. It also includes the appraisal of a new option: Sustainable Urban Area Growth + large scale (single land) Green Belt release + additional Green Belt site releases of varying sizes.
Cllr Anglin continued: "While we are keen to protect our green spaces where possible, we do have to look at all options to accommodate future development. This is an issue being faced by councils across the country. Here is South Tyneside we are heavily constrained by Green Belt, which accounts for one third of the Borough.
"We understand residents' concerns around the allocation of land for housing in the Green Belt and we continue to prioritise and actively promote the development of brownfield sites first. The proposed Holborn Riverside scheme is a great example of us trying to open up brownfield and previously contaminated land for development."
The recommended appraisal of new spatial options would also provide an opportunity for a fresh assessment of the infrastructure requirements that will best serve both new and existing communities.
It should also be noted that the Draft Plan contains a wider range of policies which any planning application would need to comply with before a planning permission is granted. These include the protection and enhancement of green infrastructure, biodiversity and the historic environment.
If agreed, the spatial options will be reviewed and will inform a new draft plan, which will then be subject to Cabinet approval before public consultation later this year.
Ultimately, the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for a Public Examination before an independent Planning Inspector.