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Local Plan Examination - Key information and updates

Updates about the Local Plan Examination process, plus hearing dates and venues and other relevant information.

In accordance with regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (As Amended) Basildon Borough Council submitted the Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014 -2034 to the Secretary of State on 28 March 2019 for examination.

For related guidance see GOV.UK - Local Plans guidance.

The Inspector

Paul Griffiths (BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the Planning Inspector for the examination of the Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014 - 2034.

The Inspector's task is to consider the soundness of the submitted Plan. The Inspector will also consider whether the Local Plan meets the requisite legal and procedural requirements. In order to do so, the Inspector will assess the Local Plan, the evidence base on which it was created, as well as all of the representations submitted during the public consultations.

The Programme Officer

Enquiries should be directed to the Programme Officer, an independent officer appointed to manage Local Plan Examination administrative and procedural matters. Contact details are as follows:

  • Programme Officer: Andrea Copsey.  
  • Phone: 07842 643988
  • Email: copseyandrea@gmail.com
  • In writing: Basildon Examination, PO Box 12607, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 9GN

Examination Documents

To view or download the examination documents see the following links:

Examination Latest News and Updates

All updates about the Local Plan Examination process,  plus hearing dates and venues and other relevant information will be published here.

The Council has published:

PSD034 Basildon LP Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford Technical Note outlining the mitigation required to make Pound Lane (including the junctions at either end), more suitable for the additional traffic expected as a result of the development growth proposed in the area.

PSD035 Basildon LP A127 Junction with Cranfield Park Road Technical Note outlining the mitigation required to make the junction of Cranfield Park Road and the A127 (Eastbound), more suitable for the additional traffic expected as a result of the development growth proposed in the area.

Growth proposals in the Basildon local plan will require transport infrastructure improvements.  Improvements to the A127/Pound Lane/Cranfield Park Road junction are required as a result of local plan growth proposals to the east of Basildon and south of Wickford.

A package of deliverable smaller-scale junction mitigation has been assessed as an alternative to a new grade separated junction on the A127 at Pound Lane.  Design and engineering studies have been undertaken to ascertain the improvements required. Specific tasks involved engineering reviews of preliminary mitigation scheme designs, and safety-led audits of existing routes to determine the infrastructure improvements required at this location.

These documents are being made public as Post Submission Documents prior to the additional modifications consultation in order to assist with ongoing discussions with interested parties.

The reports can be viewed at: Local Plan Examination - Post Submission Examination Documents

Basildon Council has now published an up-to-date assessment of the minimum number of homes needed in the Borough over the Local Plan period, using the standard method set out in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG):
 

The Council is also working on the Additional Modifications Consultation for the Local Plan, as requested by the Inspector in his note of 23 March 2021. 

A number of additional evidence base documents have been published on the examination website under Post Submission Documents (PSD), which the public will now have the opportunity to comment on. These include:

  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) Update
  • Future Economic Opportunities and Challenges Study
  • Heritage Impact Assessments
  • Climate Change and Air Quality Updates
  • Addenda to the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) & Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)
  • Transport and Highway Updates

The Schedule of Other Modifications March 2019 will also form part of this consultation, as it seeks to address some of the main issues that arose from the Regulation 19 consultation. In addition, the Inspector has indicated that the Council's response to his Initial Questions will be opened up to consultation.

As well as including the completed evidence base, the Schedule of Other Modifications, and the Response to the Inspector's Initial Questions (IIQs), further evidence is being progressed for the Additional Modifications Consultation.  Consideration of draft modifications to the submitted Local Plan as a result of the new evidence is also ongoing. The additional evidence being prepared includes work on the following:

  • Urban Capacity
  • Local Wildlife Sites
  • Retail and Leisure
  • Housing, including Affordable Housing
  • Basildon Town Centre Regeneration
  • Transport Modelling for the whole borough, including Basildon Town Centre
  • Engineering works required for Key Road Improvements
  • Urban Design and Public Art Policy Review
  • Gypsy and Traveller Provision Update
  • Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan Update
  • Whole Plan Viability Update

Topic papers and position statements are being prepared to cover these subjects where required.

Updates to the SA/HRA work will also be required for the consultation and will need to be finalised after the draft modifications to the Local Plan are complete.

The Additional Modifications Consultation will need to be agreed with both the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee and Full Council, prior to commencing the 6 week public consultation.

The Council is aiming for the public consultation to take place late 2021 / early 2022.

Following submission of the Council's response to the Inspector's Initial Questions (IIQs) in January 2021, the Council has received a response from the Inspector which sets out the way forward for the Basildon Local Plan Examination:
 

In his response, the Inspector now requires the council to publish a revised Housing Topic Paper and an updated housing land supply calculation arising from the use of the standard methodology, together with all other updated and new evidence the council has created since its submission in 2019.

The Inspector has also requested that the Council publish the draft modifications to the Local Plan that are required as a result of the new and updated evidence.  The Inspector would like a further six-week consultation on the new evidence, the proposed modifications and the responses to his initial questions.

The publication of the note (dated 23 March) from the Inspector has been delayed due to the pre-election period of the recent local elections, and Council procedures around the change in administration arising from the elections.

To see all correspondence relating to the examination see: Local Plan Examination - Correspondence

Following the recent local elections, there has been a change in administration for Basildon Council. A formal Annual General Meeting (AGM) is being held on 27 May 2021 to formally establish the new Council administration.

The Council therefore anticipates publishing an update on the Local Plan in June.

Response to the Inspectors Initial Questions (IIQs)

On 29 January 2021, the Council submitted the following written response to the Inspectors IIQs:

The Council is now awaiting a response from the Inspector, setting out the next steps for the Local Plan Examination.

To see the Council's responses to all of the Inspector's IIQs visit:

Basildon Town Centre Regeneration 

The Council's response to the IIQs draw largely from existing Local Plan evidence base, but also draw on the urban capacity work within the adopted Basildon town centre regeneration strategy, see:

Consequently, a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Addendum looking at the reasonable alternatives to Basildon Town Centre Regeneration Policy R2 has been prepared and is referenced within the Council's response to the IIQs.  This has now been published, see:

Additional Evidence Base

On 9 February 2021, the Council wrote to the Inspector providing summaries of all transport and highways evidence undertaken post submission of the Local Plan. The Council has published one summary report and four additional reports which assess the potential of a package of deliverable smaller-scale junction mitigations as an alternative to a grade separated junction on the A127 at Pound Lane, and the role of mode-shift towards more sustainable transport:

The Council has also published two further reports which had been omitted, and should be read in conjunction with the previously published Water Cycle Flood Risk and Surface Water Management evidence base documents (EV131 - EV159):

To see details of all Post Submission examination documents visit:

The Council has received the Inspector's Initial Questions (IIQs).  The Inspector's note confirms that the Local Plan Examination has now resumed, following a lengthy hiatus and the submission of additional evidence by the Council in response to the Ministerial Direction on Air Quality received from DEFRA in June 2019.

At this time, the Inspector is seeking a written response to the IIQs from the Council only. Should the Council's written response lead to a need for Preliminary Hearings, submissions would be invited from others with an interest at the appropriate time. However, should the Council's written response suffice for preliminary purposes, the Inspector intends to proceed to the Main Hearings where interested parties will have the opportunity to raise related issues.

The Council will be publishing its written response to the IIQs as soon as they become available.

The IIQs can be viewed at: Local Plan Examination - Correspondence

The Council has published a revised Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for Site H7: Land North and South of London Road. The revised HIA includes an updated Figure 1 to better reflect the location and extent of Site H7, as well as some wording changes to improve the clarity of the document. The conclusions of the report remain fundamentally the same.

The revised report can be viewed at: Local Plan Examination - Post Submission Examination Documents.

Five additional reports have been now been published. These include:

  • PSD014 Essex County Council - Basildon LP Air Quality Review - May 2020
  • PSD015 Basildon Council - Climate Change and Air Quality Topic Paper - Sept 2020
  • PSD016 Basildon Sustainability Appraisal Second Addendum - Feb 2020
  • PSD017 Basildon Habitat Regulations Assessment 2nd Addendum - Feb 2020
  • PSD018 Statement of Common Ground - Basildon Council and Natural England - Oct 2020

These reports can be viewed at: Local Plan Examination - Post Submission Examination Documents

The hearings for the Local Plan examination are now not expected to take place until early 2021.

Following ongoing discussions with Historic England the council has completed three heritage impact assessments for allocations H7(a&b), E6 and H20 due to the need to explore further the heritage issues for these site allocations.

Details of the reports can be viewed at: Local Plan Examination - Post Submission Examination Documents.

The Council is adding the May 2019 Future Economic Opportunities and Challenges study to the Local Plan Evidence Base.

Originally commissioned by our Economic Development section, the report is considered to provide useful information in regard to the wider economic context and threats to Basildon's economy from issues such as Brexit and Automation.  Some of these economic development issues have already been, or will be identified, through updated topic papers which the Council is currently producing as further updated evidence to support the submitted Local Plan.

The report is considered to help demonstrate to the Inspector that Basildon is aware of the 'bigger picture' for economic policy and economic development.

The Council has published a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) Update Report, to provide an up-to-date assessment of current and future need for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople accommodation in the borough.

Details of the report can be viewed at Local Plan Examination - Post Submission Examination Documents.

On 22 June 2020, Basildon council wrote to the inspector regarding the ongoing Basildon town centre masterplan consultation, and the Revised Publication Local Plan (RPLP). . We consider that the draft Basildon town centre master plan is currently best used as an addition to our evidence base for the RPLP, and it would be sensible for this emerging masterplan to be incorporated into the Local Plan.

All correspondence letters can be viewed at Local Plan Examination - Correspondence.

Planning Policy Officers are continuing to work on various transport and air quality matters for the Basildon Local Plan examination.  Statements of common ground are also being prepared with organisations including the statutory authorities and developers.  The hearings for the Local Plan examination are not expected to take place now until Autumn 2020 at the earliest.

On the 7 February 2020, the Council wrote to the Inspector regarding the progress the Council has made in addressing the requirements of the Air Quality Direction issued by Defra, and to advise how the transport evidence for the Local Plan has been updated in light of the air quality challenge, and other matters arising. The letter requested that, on the basis of the progress made, and in agreement with those at Essex County Council and Essex Highways working on the Air Quality Direction, we proceed towards establishing a programme for examination of the Basildon Borough Revised Publication Local Plan.

All correspondence letters can be viewed on the Local Plan Examination - Correspondence page.

On the 6 November 2019, the Council was advised by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that no decisions would be issued in respect of the information provided in accordance with the Ministerial Direction on Air Quality until January 2020. A letter requesting a further pause in the Examination in Public of the Local Plan, until those decisions were issued, was therefore sent to the Inspector on the 8 November 2019. The Inspector responded via the Programme Officer in respect of this request indicating he is content to further pause the examination until 31 January 2020.

All correspondence letters can be viewed on the Local Plan Examination - Correspondence page.

On the 18 June 2019, the Council received a Direction from the Minister for the Environment requiring it to improve air quality in locations around the A127 in the shortest possible time consistent with the requirements of the European Air Quality Directive. On the 27 June 2019, the Council agreed to ask the Planning Inspectorate and the appointed Inspector for a short suspension of the Local Plan Examination in Public to investigate any implications this Direction may have for the Local Plan. View Ministerial Direction and associated Council Decision

A letter requesting this suspension was sent to the Inspector on the 28 June 2019. The Inspector responded as follows to the Programme Officer in respect of this request:

"Thank you for your letter of 28 June 2019. In the circumstances, I am content to defer the Examination for three months, as you suggest, but I would be grateful if you could confirm the main requirements of the Direction, and give an indication of the potential impacts you consider the Direction might have on the Plan's sustainable development strategy which you are currently considering".

The Council responded to the Inspectors request for additional information on the 24 July 2019, and it is not now anticipated that the hearing sessions for the Local Plan Examination will take place before the end of 2019.

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