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On 25 November 2020, within report PES/367 Cabinet delegated the following to the Head of Economy and Planning in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development: (1) Factual amendments to the Local Plan necessary in accordance with national policy and updated evidence for the purposes of clarity; and (2) The approval of the supporting documents for the Local Plan and technical evidence base documents to support the Local Plan through Examination. This Significant Operational Decision is being taken under that delegated authority.
The draft Submission Local Plan was approved at Full Council on 16 December 2020 for a period of public consultation commencing 6 January until 17 February 2021. The draft Local Plan document includes a copy of the Employment Land Trajectory (ELT) Base Date 1 September 2020 which seeks to provide an outline of the available employment land supply pipeline for the Plan period. This ELT includes details of sites submitted to the council through the Local Plan process which are not being proposed for allocation, with a very brief summary of why they are not considered acceptable.
In light of early feedback on the Local Plan, it is considered that this approach, in detailing through the ELT included in the Local Plan all sites that have been promoted to the council, including those that are not proposed for allocation, may result in a lack of clarity for respondents to the Local Plan consultation. It is also important to make clear that there is a distinction between the site area and site uses that have been put forward for allocation at Gatwick Green by the site promoter, and the council’s specific requirements for this site as set out in the council’s evidence and allocated through draft Policy EC4 of the draft Submission Local Plan. For reasons of clarity, it is necessary to amend the approach to the ELT.
To address this issue and provide clarity, it is proposed that the council will separate the ELT into two distinct documents and publish:
1. An Employment Land Availability Assessment as a Standalone Evidence document supporting the Local Plan. This document will set out the potential land supply position for Crawley, detailing the available employment land supply pipeline for Years 1-5 of the Local Plan, and providing detail of all sites promoted to the council for employment use through the Local Plan process. Details for the sites’ areas and possible uses are shown based on information provided by the sites’ promoters, and the Assessment will indicate whether these are considered by the council to be Suitable, Available and Achievable.
2. An Employment Land Trajectory, to be included within the Local Plan, in addition to being published separately. This document will set out the quantum and type of employment land/floorspace that will be delivered through the Local Plan. It details the available employment land supply pipeline for Years 1-5 of the Local Plan, and provides detail as to the land take and floorspace of the Gatwick Green Strategic Employment Site to be allocated through the Plan. It does not include all the uses and floorspace promoted by the Gatwick Green site promoter, and does not include details of other sites that have been considered for employment use which are not proposed for allocation in the Local Plan.
Associated changes have been made to the draft Topic Paper 5: Employment Needs and Land Supply to reflect and explain these documents. Factual amendments have been made to the Employment Land Supply Map which is presented in the Employment Land Availability Assessment and replicated in Topic Paper 5.
It is important to note that these proposed changes to the ELT are for clarity only and do not change the Local Plan Policy EC4 allocation for the Gatwick Green site in any way. However, some minor factual changes to the Local Plan document as follows have been undertaken to reflect the two distinctive evidence documents:
- Paragraph 1.15 Evidence Base: reference to the Employment Land Availability Assessment has been inserted.
- Paragraph 2.19 Sub-heading “New Employment Locations” has been amended to refer to “New Strategic Employment Location”.
- Paragraph 9.5: reference to the Employment Land Availability Assessment has been inserted and a footnote to reference the title details of this document inserted.
- Paragraph 9.13: ELT reference amended to refer to Base Date September 2020 rather than publication date.
- Paragraph 9.51: ELT reference changed to Employment Land Availability Assessment.
- Appendix B: Supporting Guidance Documents: January 2021 publication date has been added to the Employment Land Trajectory reference.
- Background Studies and Evidence Base Documents: reference to the Employment Land Availability Assessment has been inserted above ELT (and the base date added also as well as the January 2021 publication date to both).
- Glossary – Abbreviations: ELAA (Employment Land Availability Assessment) and ELT (Employment Land Trajectory) have been added.
- The Employment Land Trajectory attached as an Annex to the Local Plan itself has been replaced with the January 2021 version of the Employment Land Trajectory which incorporates the changes referred to above.
The following corresponding changes to the draft Sustainability Appraisal have also been undertaken:
- Page 100 (list beneath para D4) refers to ELT July 2020 has been amended to read “Base Date 1 September 2020” and a reference inserted below to the Employment Land Availability Assessment (Base Date 1 September 2020).
- Page 335: reference to 17.6ha has been amended to 17.9ha for consistency with the ELAA.
To ensure clarity of the council’s intention, the new documents are proposed to be published to completely replace the existing ones on the council’s website. To maintain transparency regarding this change, the Local Plan Review webpage (www.crawley.gov.uk/localplanreview) will be updated to highlight the amended documents and a Local Plan Alert will be emailed to all parties signed up to the Local Plan News database in order to notify contacts of this clarification along with a separate email to contacts for sites included on the Employment Land Availability Assessment.
Decision Maker: Head of Economy and Planning
Decision published: 18/01/2021
Effective from: 15/01/2021
To publish an amended Employment Land
Trajectory and a separate Employment Land Availability Assessment
and undertake corresponding factual changes to the Submission Draft
Local Plan and the draft Sustainability Appraisal.
Lead officer: Clem Smith
To agree the proposed calendar of meetings of the Full Council, Cabinet and Committees for the period May 2021 to May 2022.
Decision Maker: Leader of the Council
Decision published: 13/01/2021
Effective from: 21/01/2021