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Local Plan update and supporting information

Local Plan update consultation – 1 February to 7 April 2024

The Cotswold District Local Plan – Local Plan Update: Regulation 18 Consultation is now available for public comment until Sunday 7 April 2024. Documentation available on our Evidence base and monitoring page.

Cirencester Town Centre Masterplan Consultation – 1 February to 17 March 2024

An initial ideas consultation paper on the Framework Masterplan for Cirencester Central Area (town centre) is being consulted on until Sunday 17 March 2024. This consultation starts the process for creating a masterplan to help coordinating future development in the town centre. Once adopted it will be a Supplementary Planning Document that will sit alongside the updated Local Plan. Documentation available on our Evidence base and monitoring page.

Where can I make comments?

Both consultations are available at your.cotswold.gov.uk and we warmly invite you to submit your comments using this platform.

Alternatively, comments may be made by email or letter, but we kindly ask that you use the ‘standard comment form’, which is available to download via the Evidence base and monitoring webpage. This helps us to review comments in an efficient and timely manner.

Why are we consulting?

Cotswold District Council is updating its adopted Local Plan to make it “Green to the Core”. At the same time, the council is also considering development needs up to 2041 and options for how these may be delivered. It is also delivering on a commitment made in the Local Plan to prepare a masterplan for the redevelopment of parts of the central area of Cirencester.

The public consultation consists of:

  • updated Local Plan policies;
  • a vision, objectives and development strategy topic paper that starts the process of how the council addresses development needs to 2041;
  • a Call for Sites that invites people to indicate available land that can deliver development needs up to 2041. This can include land for housing, employment, renewable energy, green spaces, nature, etc.
  • an ‘initial ideas’ consultation document that starts the process for developing a Framework Masterplan for Cirencester Town Centre;
  • an interim Integrated Impact Assessment will support the consultation and will include an appraisal of the development strategy options and the draft policies. This will be available from 9 February 2024.

Feedback from the consultations will be considered and used to help inform the draft Masterplan, and further consultation on the Local Plan.

Copies of the consultation document and supporting evidence base are available to view and download via the Evidence base and monitoring webpage.

Responses to Local Plan Partial Update ‘Issues and Options’ Consultation 2022

The District Council is partially updating its Local Plan. The first stage of the Local Plan Partial Update was to identify ‘Issues and Options’ that the Local Plan needs to respond to. We undertook a six-week public consultation between February and March 2022. We received a large number of responses, which provided us with an enormous amount of useful information. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation.

You can view the Issues and Options consultation document again via the link below. The links below also provide a summary report of the matters raised by the responses to the consultation and our responses to the representations.

The information we received is already being used in the next stage of the partial update to the Local Plan, where we are writing new and updated Local Plan policies. We will again ask for your feedback on the proposed Local Plan policies in another public consultation, which we plan to take place later in 2023 and early 2024.

The supporting evidence base is also available to view under ‘Issues and Options Consultation’ via the Evidence Base and Monitoring webpage.

National Policy consultation

The government recently consulted on changes to national planning policies, which are part of its wider reforms proposed by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The consultation closed on 2 March 2023 and included two key documents:

The consultation proposals would affect plan-making in Cotswold District if they are implemented as proposed.

Consultation on Non-Strategic Site Allocations Selection Methodology and Guidance for major development in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (National Landscape)

Between 16 February 2023 and 16 March 2023, we consulted on two evidence documents that will be used in the Local Plan making process. Both consultation documents are unavoidably technical in nature and responses were primarily sought from those with technical expertise, although the consultation was open to anyone who wishes to respond.

Consultation on Non-Strategic Site Allocations Selection Methodology

No sites are being recommended for development in this consultation. The consultation instead seeks views on the various criteria that will help us to select the best and most sustainable sites for development in the Local Plan.

Consultation on Guidance for major development in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (National Landscape)

The guidance explains the two-stage process of how to establish:

  • whether development proposals are “major development” in the context of the Cotswolds AONB / National Landscape; and
  • whether there are any “exceptional circumstances” for major development in the AONB and whether the development is in the public interest.

We are inviting feedback on whether this guidance can be improved in any way.

The two consultation documents, the consultation questions and further information about the consultation can be accessed via the Council’s online consultation system (Commonplace): https://siteallocationsmethodology.commonplace.is/

Call for Sites - Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Travelling Showpeople and Bargee communities

The last Call for Sites ran until Friday 6 October 2023.

Neighbourhood Plans

The Independent Examiner of the Fairford Neighbourhood Plan presented his report on the submission plan at the start of February, recommending that subject to modifications, the Plan should proceed to referendum. This is quite a milestone for Cotswold – while there are already seven ‘made’ plans, the Fairford Neighbourhood Plan is the first in our district to make a housing allocation. To learn more, visit: https://www.cotswold.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-policy/neighbourhood-planning/ updated Local Plan polices. We will again ask for your feedback on the proposed Local Plan policies in another public consultation, which we plan to take place later in 2023 and early 2024.

Local Plan Review and Government Planning Reforms

We review the Local Plan at least every five years. In June 2020 we agreed to undertake a partial update for the Local Plan. The update focuses only on issues that need modification within the plan period (to 2031) and does not invite consultation and examination on matters beyond the plan period.

Work to partially update the Local Plan has resumed following a short pause (Cabinet voted 13 May 2021 agenda item 9). This was in light of the Government proposals to reform the existing planning system and to change the way that councils plan for new development and determine planning applications. For example, it included a proposal to significantly increase future local housing need and potentially growth in the District.

We published our response from these proposals in September 2020. For further information on the Government’s proposals please see Planning for the future White Paper and Changes to the current planning system consultation papers published in August 2020.

In February 2021, the Government published a revised housing need calculation and it confirmed that significantly higher levels of local housing growth are no longer proposed in the District during the 2020s. The new local housing need figure is roughly in line with historic rates.

Local Development Scheme

Now that we have clarity on how future local housing need is calculated, we can continue to partially update the Local Plan. A new project timetable was agreed by Cabinet in December 2023 and is set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS)

The LDS sets out our work programme in relation to the main planning policy documents. These documents include the Local Plan (the Development Plan for the area) and associated documents, such as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs).

The programme of work focusses on the next three years (2023-2026). It highlights how long it will take to prepare each document, when the public will be able to participate and when the final version of each document will be adopted.

Statement of Community Involvement

The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) explains how and when different groups, organisations and communities can get involved with the local planning applications and planning documents. It provides a framework for consultation and community engagement.

The current SCI was adopted on 2 November 2020 and replaces the 2014 edition. It was amended in December 2023 to include several amendments primarily related to digital engagement. 

Duty to Cooperate

The National Planning Policy Framework states that public bodies have a ‘duty to cooperate’ on planning issues that cross administrative boundaries, particularly those which relate to the strategic priorities. The Government expects joint working on areas of common interest for the mutual benefit of neighbouring authorities.

We have published a ‘duty to cooperate statement of compliance’ report that sets out the strategic planning issues. The report also summarises the interactions we have had with relevant organisations and their outcomes.