What is the Local Plan?

1 The Local Plan is a key Council document that is required to guide and deliver the Council’s plans and aspirations for growth. It is essential to shaping change in a form which is desired by the Council and Thanet’s communities, and for the delivery of development projects and infrastructure.

2 The Plan must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development, and be in accordance with national planning policy.

3 The Plan should be aspirational but also realistic and should provide sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change. The Plan must be based upon up-to-date, sound evidence. We have to be able to demonstrate that the Plan will be deliverable and therefore the proposals included within it must be viable and realistic. The Plan will be delivered by a number of partners, including the private sector.

4 The Plan sets out policies and proposals that will be used to guide decisions and investment on development and regeneration over the period to 2031. It sets out how and where the homes, jobs, community facilities, shops and infrastructure will be delivered and the types of places and environments we want to create. It also identifies land to be protected from development, such as open space. Once adopted, the Plan will form the statutory planning framework for determining planning applications and will replace the “saved” policies from the Thanet Local Plan 2006. The Cliftonville Development Plan Document (2010) still remains in force.

Why is the Council producing a Local Plan?

  • The Council is required by government to produce a Local Plan.
  • The Council also wants to set out in advance how it wishes to see the district develop. This provides certainty to developers, businesses, the local community and others.
  • The Plan provides a framework to help deliver the Council’s Economic Growth Strategy
  • The Plan will ensure that decisions on planning applications are made in accordance with local policy. Without a Plan the Council has less control over development in the area.

How has the Council decided what the Plan should contain?

  • The National Planning Policy Framework and the national Planning Practice Guidance set out what the government expects local plans to cover.
  • We have considered the specific issues and opportunities that are relevant to Thanet.
  • We have considered key elements of the evidence base, and carried out key work in relation to Local Plan viability, Sustainability Appraisal and infrastructure delivery
  • We carried out consultation on the Preferred Options for the Plan, and further Proposed Revisions to that Plan, and have considered the comments received.
  • We have assessed the merits of the options in achieving sustainable development, including through the Sustainability Appraisal.
  • We have and will continue to co-operate with our neighbouring authorities on cross-boundary strategic issues.

5 The options and assessment of their merits are documented in the Issues and Options Consultation Document, the Sustainability Appraisal and in topic papers, which can be accessed on the Planning Policy pages of the Council's website. This Draft Local Plan sets out the Council’s preferred final version of the Local Plan, subject to examination by an independent Planning Inspector.

How is the Plan structured?

6 The Plan is set out in three main sections.

Section 1 provides the introduction and sets the context for the Plan. It sets out the vision for Thanet that the Plan is seeking to achieve, and introduces the overall strategy behind the Plan, as well as setting out the strategic priorities and objectives which need to be achieved in order to deliver the vision and strategy of the Plan.

7 Section 2 sets out the strategic issues and policies of the Plan. These are the overarching policies which underpin the Plan's strategy. These include the strategies for delivering sustainable development and the overall levels of development and growth which are needed in Thanet, and the strategies for the economy, town centres, housing, environment, communities and transport, including strategic housing and employment site proposals.

8 Section 3 sets out district wide development management policies. These are detailed and wide ranging policies which may be relevant to all new development proposals in Thanet. The section is set out in topic areas, and covers issues including climate change, design and heritage.