Agenda item

Crawley Borough Local Plan Review - Publication and Submission

To consider report PES/427 of the Head of Economy and Planning.


The Commission considered report PES/427 of the Head of Economy and Planning. The report requested Full Council to approve the submission draft Local Plan for Publication consultation (a statutory six-week period of public consultation), commencing 9 May 2023. It also requested Full Council to agree the submission draft Local Plan for Submission to the Secretary of State for Examination by an independent Planning Inspector, subject to minor amendments deemed necessary following consultation for the purposes of clarity, together with the approval of the publication and submission of the supporting documents for the Local Plan.


Throughout the discussion with the Head of Economy and Planning, Strategic Planning Manager, Planning Policy Manager and Senior Planning Officer. During the discussion,Councillors made the following comments:

·         Recognition that a full Local Plan Review was being undertaken to ensure the borough maintained up to date planning policies.  Much of the Local Plan remained as it was previously considered by Full Council in December 2020 (following advice relating to the government’s aviation policy) and published for formal consultation in January to June 2021. Unexpected critical legal matters relating to water supply had subsequently followed and its potential impact on internationally protected habitat sites had caused additional work and substantial delays to the progression of the Local Plan whilst being resolved. There was now sufficient information available to address these concerns through the Local Plan Review and approval was sought to undertake a further period of Regulation 19 consultation prior to submission of the final draft Plan to an Inspector for examination in public. The Local Development Scheme had recently been published confirming the timetable.

·         Acknowledgement that the public consultation would commence on 9 May and extend over a 6 week period. It was a formal consultation, with all representation received being submitted alongside the Local Plan to the Inspector for their consideration as part of the Examination.

·         It was confirmed that the adopted Local Plan was subject to a 5-year Policy Review by Full Council decision, which confirmed the policies remained up to date for the purposes of Development Management decisions and ensured the Council was not placed in a vulnerable position. The requirement to review the Local Plan every five years and ensure it is up to date triggered the need to assess the existing policies against the revised national planning policy requirements and provided the opportunity to strengthen key policy areas.

·         Acknowledgement that delays to neighbouring local authorities’ Local Plans and concerns with their housing supply could have implications across the housing market area.  There was recognition of the clear position on the benefits of maintaining an up to date Local Plan and that the ‘duty to co-operate’, had to be demonstrated when the Plan was submitted.  Local Plans were judged on their own merit and whilst there were benefits in the timetables of neighbouring authorities’ Plans aligning, this was not a requirement, noting that it was helpful previously to have Crawley’s housing requirement figure set first, prior to the Examination of neighbouring Plans. 

·         Clarification sought and obtained on the timescale, consultation, and Examination process.

·         Acknowledgement that permitted development conversions were included in housing delivery figures.  It was noted that the Local Plan would secure a stronger position for the council to defend against inappropriate developments. Article 4 Directions were currently in place across Manor Royal Business District, Maidenbower Business Park, Lowfield Heath, Three Bridges Corridor and Tilgate Forest Business Centre. Additionally the High Street and Queens Square and the Broadway Conservation Areas helped to secure the preservation and enhancement of Crawley’s historic environment in accordance with legislation, national planning policy and best practice.

·         Acknowledgement that the Local Plan had policies in place for a mix of housing for instance HMOs and upward extensions.  It was important to maintain a balance between providing a need for the type of accommodation and any impact upon the amenity and privacy of neighbouring properties and the general character of the area. It would be key with any development to maximise the appropriate development potential of the town whilst not losing the amenity value or streetscene and protecting valuable areas.

·         Acknowledgement of the Tree Protection and Tree Replacement policies, and recognition in the Plan that other forms of planting may be appropriate and potentially preferable for biodiversity.


That the Commission noted the report and requested that the views expressed during the debate, were fed back to the Cabinet through the Commission’s Comment sheet.



Supporting documents: