The Local Plan Context
1.1 The Chester District Local Plan has been prepared by the Council of the City of Chester (from now on referred to as “the Council”) in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended. The Plan covers the whole of the administrative area of Chester District.
1.2 The area covered by the Local Plan is shown in Figure 1a (from now on referred to as the ‘plan area’). This is the first time that a Local Plan has been prepared for the whole of the Chester District.
1.3 The preparation of this Local Plan has involved updating and replacing the following planning documents and merging them into one Local Plan for the District:
- The Greater Chester Local Plan which was formally adopted by the Council in 1983
- The Draft Revised Greater Chester District Plan. This was not formally adopted by the Council but was used for development control purposes
- The Chester Rural Area Local Plan which was formally adopted by the Council in 1985
- That part of the Mersey Marshes Local Plan within Chester District. This Plan was prepared and adopted by Cheshire County Council in 1986
Purpose of the Local Plan
1.4 The Local Plan sets out the Council’s policies and proposals for the control of development, including the allocation of land for specific purposes.
1.5 It also provides the physical framework within which the Council can achieve its corporate objectives to improve the future wellbeing of the District.
The Local Plan Period
1.6 The Plan covers the period 1996-2011. As such it will need to conform generally to Cheshire 2016 Replacement Structure Plan.
Functions of Local Plans
1.7 The main functions of Local Plans are to:
- interpret strategic policies in Regional Planning Guidance (RPG) (now the Regional Spatial Strategy) and the County Structure Plan (which has been prepared by the County Council and which sets out the overall planning framework for Cheshire) and apply these at the local level
- provide a framework for the consideration of planning applications
- provide a framework for co-ordinating development by public authorities and private agencies
- give the public the opportunity to comment on and become involved in the debate on local planning issues
Figure 1a - Area Covered by the Local Plan
Form and Content of The Local Plan
1.8 The Local Plan consists of two parts:
- A Written Statement setting out the Council’s policies and proposals for the District, together with the reasoned justification for these
- A Proposals Map on an Ordnance Survey base defining the areas to which each of the policies and proposals apply
1.9 Chester District comprises three main elements: the urban area of Chester; a complex city centre; and the rural area composed of many villages and surrounding countryside.
1.10 The Proposals Map reflects this settlement pattern by consisting of a number of elements:
- An overall Proposals Map for the District
- An Inset Map for the Urban Area
- An Inset Map for the City Centre
- Inset Maps for Villages and Rural Employment Areas
How to Use the Local Plan
1.11 The Local Plan is a complex document and the following guidance is given by way of clarification.
1.12 General background information, the policies and proposals and the reasoned justification are set out in this Written Statement. The supporting Proposals Map and Inset Maps for villages and rural employment areas are provided within the folder.
1.13 The Written Statement is composed of a number of chapters – see Contents page. The next chapter sets out the Local Plan’s Strategy, including a description of the plan area, the guiding principles on which the Plan is based, a geographical summary of the Plan’s policies and proposals and a number of general policies i.e. the Council’s ‘vision’ for the plan area.
1.14 The Strategy is followed by a chapter on various aspects of the environment which form the fundamental elements of the Local Plan. Then there are a number of other chapters on topics such as housing, employment and retailing.
1.15 The Council attaches great importance to the implementation of the Local Plan. It will, therefore, set up mechanisms to monitor both the effectiveness of the Local Plan’s policies and proposals and the changing context in which they are operated. These matters are dealt with in the chapter on Monitoring and Implementation.
1.16 The Written Statement ends with a Glossary of the main terms used in the Local Plan.
1.17 The Local Plan can be accessed in the following ways:
By initial reference to the overall Proposals Map for the Plan Area
1.18 This will either indicate the policy or policies applying to the whole or that part of the plan area which the reader is interested in; the policy can then be followed up in the Written Statement via the List of Policies and Contents page at the beginning of the document.
1.19 Alternatively, the Proposals Maps may indicate that the area of interest is covered by an Inset Map. Reference to the appropriate Inset Map will then indicate the relevant policy which can be found in the Written Statement.
By initial reference to the Written Statement
1.20 The Contents page will indicate the broad area of interest to the reader. This can then be followed through via the relevant section of the chapter. The area to which any policy or proposal applies can then be identified by reference to either one of the Proposals Maps or one of the Inset Maps.
By reference to the internet
1.21 The Local Plan can be found on the Council’s website at: www.chester.gov.uk. This allows readers to view policies and the Proposals Maps electronically.