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1 Introduction and Background

1.1 This Core Strategy has been prepared by Braintree District Council with the involvement of the Local Strategic Partnership to:

  • Provide a vision of how Braintree District will change between now and 2026.
  • Set out the aims and objectives of the Council and its partners.
  • Identify how and where the District will meet its needs for housing, employment, retail development and community facilities up to 2026.
  • Set out the core planning policies, which will underpin the strategy.
  • Show how the environment will be protected, notwithstanding the demands and requirements for growth.
  • Show how infrastructure will be provided to support the proposed development.
  • Show how the strategy will be monitored to ensure that it is achieving its objectives.

1.2 The Appendices include a list of the technical studies and strategies which have provided evidence and requirements that have been used in the preparation of the Core Strategy and which have identified the services, facilities and infrastructure required to support growth.

1.3 There is also a glossary explaining acronyms and terms used in the Core Strategy.

1.4 The Sustainable Community Strategy 'One District- One Vision A Strategy for People and Places in the Braintree District to 2026' was prepared in partnership with the LSP during the preparation of the Core Strategy.

The Local Development Framework

1.5 The Local Development Framework is the revised planning system introduced under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, which sets out how development will be managed across the Braintree District.

1.6 Local Development Documents will plan, monitor and manage future change and growth in the Braintree District to 2026 and will replace the Braintree District Local Plan Review 2005 in stages.

1.7 The LDF consists of a portfolio of documents which will address the social, economic and environmental aims of the Braintree District.

1.8 Figure 1 below illustrates the various components of the Local Development Framework.

Figure 1

Local Development Framework

1.9 The Braintree District LDF will be made up of the following Local Development Documents:-

  • The Local Development Scheme
  • The Statement of Community Involvement
  • The Core Strategy (including Proposals Map Insets of strategic sites)
  • The Proposals Map
  • The Development Management Policies
  • Site Allocations (including Proposals Map Insets)
  • The Annual Monitoring Report

1.10 There will also be supplementary planning documents covering subjects including Master Plans for the Strategic Sites and Regeneration Areas, Open Space Standards and Affordable Housing.

1.11 The Local Development Scheme sets out the documents that the Council will produce, together with timescales for their delivery.

1.12 The Statement of Community Involvement sets out how the Council will consult its partners and the public on planning policy and development management.

1.13 The Core Strategy is the principal document of the Local Development Framework and sets out the overall spatial vision and objectives, a spatial strategy, core policies (which will replace some policies in the Local Plan Review) and how the strategy will be implemented and monitored. It includes strategic sites for development. The Core Strategy is accompanied by the Proposals Map, which replaces the Local Plan Review Proposals Map.

1.14 The Development Management Policies will replace the remaining policies in the Local Plan Review. These policies will complement the vision and objectives set out in the Core Strategy in more detail and will be used to determine future planning applications.

1.15 The Site Allocations Document will set out town development boundaries and village envelopes and will allocate some land for development and protect other land from development.

1.16 A Sustainability Appraisal, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitat Regulation Assessment of the Core Strategy have been undertaken to evaluate the sustainability of the proposed strategy, policies and options.

1.17 Continual plan review is a fundamental element of the new planning system. The District Council will produce an annual monitoring report to assess progress on the delivery of the Local Development Documents' policies and objectives and to review policy effectiveness. Local Development Documents will be reviewed as required.

Conformity with Other Policies and Strategies

1.18 The Core Strategy has been prepared to be consistent and compatible with National Planning Guidance, the East of England Plan and the Braintree District Sustainable Community Strategy, as required under the new planning system.

1.19 All subsequent Development Plan Documents (DPDs) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) will need to conform to the Core Strategy.

National Planning Policy

1.20 Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) (and the preceeding Planning Policy Guidance notes (PPGs)) are prepared by the Government setting out guidance to local authorities on planning policy and the operation of the planning system.

1.21 The Government's objectives for the planning system are outlined within Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1) which outlines the principles to facilitate and promote sustainable development.

  • Making suitable land available for development in line with economic, social and environmental objectives to improve people's quality of life.
  • Contributing to sustainable economic development;
  • Protecting and enhancing the natural and historic environment, the quality and character of the countryside, and existing communities;
  • Ensuring high quality development through good and inclusive design, and the efficient use of resources; and
  • Ensuring that development supports existing communities and contributes to safe, sustainable, liveable and mixed communities with good access to jobs and key services for all members of the community.

1.22 The Core Strategy has been based upon these objectives and other requirements set out in the PPSs and Government Circulars and Planning Acts and White Papers.

East of England Plan

1.23 The East of England Plan (published in May 2008) is the Regional Spatial Strategy for the Braintree District. This sets out to;

  • Provide for a minimum of 4,340 dwellings to be built in the District between 2006 and 2021 (about 290 a year)
  • Provide for a further 385 dwellings per year to be built in the District after 2021
  • Contribute towards the 56,000 jobs to be delivered in the 'rest of Essex' (which is defined in the plan as Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon and Uttlesford).
  • Ensure that development in the District does not have unacceptable impacts on the important internationally recognised wildlife areas of the Colne and Blackwater estuaries.

1.24 The Core Strategy is consistent with the targets set out in the East of England Plan and seeks to implement the policies and targets related to the Braintree District. Although the RSS will be revoked, the evidence base that underpinned it which established the housing need for this District is still relevant.

Sustainable Community Strategy

1.25 The Sustainable Community Strategy, 'One District-One Vision A Strategy for People and Places in the Braintree District to 2026' was produced as a joint draft document with the earlier stages of the Core Strategy by the Braintree Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) and Braintree District Council. Usually published separately, but brought together into one overall framework for the future of the District, which it was hoped would be more logical and easier for everyone to understand. The LSP is a non statutory body that brings together the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, working at a local level. The LSP's aim is to improve the social, economic and environment well being of the people and communities of the Braintree District, now and for generations to come.

1.26 Local Development Documents will be a key delivery tool for the Sustainable Community Strategy, seeking to achieve the communities' ambitions for the future by implementing the guiding principles of the Sustainable Community Strategy.

  • To promote accessibility for all
  • To create a clean and green environment and address climate change
  • To achieve a prosperous local economy
  • To enable everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy lifestyle

1.27 The Local Development Framework and the Sustainable Community Strategy have a shared commitment to the development of the objectives through community consultation and stakeholder involvement.

1.28 The table below indicates how the Core Strategy will assist in delivering the Sustainable Community Strategy priorities.

Delivery of the Sustainable Community Strategy
Sustainable Community Strategy Priorities Core Strategy Policy
Promoting accessibility for all CS1 Housing Provision and Delivery
CS2 Affordable Housing
CS3 Gypsy and Travellers and Travelling Showpersons
CS7 Promoting Accessibility for All
CS11 Infrastructure, Services and Facilities
Creating a clean and green environment and addressing climate change CS5 The Countryside
CS7 Promoting Accessibility for All
CS8 Natural Environment and Biodiversity
CS9 Built and Historic Environment
CS10 Provision for Open Space, Sport and Recreation
CS11 Infrastructure, Services and Facilities
Achieving a prosperous local economy CS4 Distribution of Employment
CS6 Town Centre Regeneration and Retail
CS11Infrastructure, Services and Facilities
Enabling everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy lifestyle CS1 Housing Provision and Delivery
CS10 Provision for Open Space, Sport and Recreation
CS11Infrastructure, Services and Facilities
Lifestyle CS11 Infrastructure, Services and Facilities

Community Consultation

1.29 The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), produced in 2006 and subsequently updated in 2009 (due to revised regulations), has been prepared in accordance with the Government regulations, which seek to provide more opportunity for community involvement, a key feature of the new planning system.

1.30 The SCI seeks to ensure that the community knows exactly how and when it will be involved in the planning process for the preparation of planning policies and in relation to planning applications.

1.31 The Council combined the work on the Sustainable Community Strategy and the LDF Core Strategy whenever possible including joint documents and joint consultation. To date, there have been 3 consultation stages:-

1.32 The community involvement began at an early stage (the front loading approach) between June and October 2006, where key stakeholders and the wider community were asked for their views and opinions on the future of the Braintree District to inform the pre production stage of the Core Strategy and Sustainable Community Strategy of the Braintree District. A total of 1713 people returned household questionnaires which were sent to all properties in the District and 263 people attended the various seminars and workshops. A summary of the responses was presented to the District Development Committee in January 2007. These responses informed the preparation of the Issues and Options document.

1.33 Consultation on the Issues and Options document was undertaken between April and May 2007. Some 1174 representations were received with nearly 60% of the responses being made electronically. An event was held on the 7th June 2007 to update representatives which included elected members, voluntary and community interest groups and public service providers on the progress with the Local Development Framework and the review of the Sustainable Community Strategy. Representatives were asked to engage in a facilitated exercise to create a refreshed Vision for the District for the period to 2025 and beyond. A report to the Local Development Framework Panel on the 25th July 2007 outlined all of the issues raised by the consultation.

1.34 During November and December 2008 consultation took place on the Preferred Options document. The document was made available in all the local libraries, at the Council Offices, on the Council website and exhibitions were also held. Existing events such as the Parish Cluster and Local Strategic Partnership meetings were also used to disseminate information to a wider audience. Over 6500 comments were received from 400 individuals and organisations. A full summary of the representations received were outlined in reports submitted to the Local Development Framework Panel in February, April and May 2009, which form part of the evidence base.

1.35 The Sustainable Community Strategy has now been approved by the LSP. This Core Strategy takes forward the spatial components of that Strategy.

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