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Chapter 1
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 This Local Plan, which is based on the concepts set out in Sir Frederick Gibberd’s Master Plan, replaces the previous Harlow Local Plan that was adopted in 1995. The Local Plan sets out the policies and proposals for future development and land use in Harlow District for the period up to 2011. It provides a detailed basis for determining planning applications and also provides the framework for co-ordinating, directing and promoting development and the use of land, both public and private.
1.1.2 The purpose of the Local Plan is:
  a) To provide a clear and detailed basis for the determination of planning applications;
  b) To provide local policies relevant to Harlow that interprets the adopted Essex and Southend-on-Sea Replacement Structure Plan;
  c) To provide a clear framework for co-ordinating, directing and promoting development, infrastructure provision and the use of land for both the public and private sectors;
  d) To bring planning issues before the public in a clear and transparent format.
1.1.3 The Local Plan is important because it represents Harlow’s needs and aspirations in a statutory process that requires planning applications to be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Although not yet formally adopted, the Local Plan is a material consideration in planning decisions. The weight attached to the Local Plan increases as it proceeds towards adoption.
1.1.4 Once adopted the Local Plan together with the Essex Structure Plan (Structure Plan), the Essex Minerals Local Plan, and the Essex and Southend-on-Sea Waste Local Plan will form the Development Plan for Harlow.
1.2 Consultation
1.2.1 The Local Plan has been prepared following extensive public consultations through the circulation of first and second issue reports, published October 1998 and July 2001 and the First Deposit Local Plan published in November 2001. The comments submitted by the public and other consultees have been taken into account in the preparation of this Local Plan and have been published by the Council in separate documents.
1.2.2 The Second Deposit Draft version of the Local Plan was subject to a six-week period of public consultation during which representations supporting or objecting to the changes to policies and proposals were made. At the end of the deposit period the Council considered all representations made and decided what appropriate alterations should be made.
1.2.3 Only representations relating to the alterations since the first deposit were considered. Following this, there was a Public Local Inquiry to allow any unresolved objections to be considered by an Inspector appointed by government. The Inspector’s Report proposed further modifications to the Local Plan. These modifications had a six-week consultation period. A number of modifications recommended by the Inspector were not accepted by the Council, and a further Inquiry into the Plan was held in December 2005. The second Inspector recommended further modifications which were placed on deposit. No further material objections were made, and the Council resolved to Adopt the Plan. The timetable that led to adoption of the Local Plan is set out below.
First Deposit Stage November 2002
Second Deposit Stage January 2004
Local Plan Inquiry June/July 2004
Inspector’s Report January 2005
Further Modifications August 2005
Local Plan Inquiry December 2005
Inspector’s Report January 2006
Adoption July 13th 2006
1.3 Format of the Local Plan
1.3.1 The Local Plan consists of this Written Statement and a Proposals Map.
1.3.2 The Written Statement begins with a ‘Vision for Harlow’ which describes the overall strategy for the district. This is followed by the aims of the Local Plan, which sets out how the Local Plan contributes towards the government’s strategy for sustainable development at global, national and local levels, and incorporates the need for community well-being.
1.3.3 After the aims, the following chapters deal in turn with particular town and country planning issues. They set out how each specific aim is to be realised through objective led policies and proposals. Together the chapters form a complete and comprehensive framework that relates national planning policy to the specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats present in the plan area of Harlow District.
1.3.4 The policies and proposals with their justification and reasoned explanation sets out how the Council will normally act in order to achieve the set objectives. The Local Plan must be read as a whole as policies are not mutually exclusive and development proposals will be considered against all the relevant policies, not just against one specific policy issue. Complying with one policy that states planning permission will be granted does not necessarily result in planning permission being granted if another relevant policy has not been met.
1.3.5 The Proposals Map identifies sites or areas which are referred to in the policies and proposals in the written statement. It comprises a district-wide map and a more detailed town centre inset map. The legend to these maps is cross-referenced to the relevant policies contained in the Local Plan.
1.4 Sustainability Appraisal
1.4.1 The Council is required to consider the environment implications of the proposals and policies in the Local Plan. This process has been expanded to also cover economic and social implications in a more encompassing sustainability appraisal. The appraisals of the First and Second Draft Deposit Local Plan against the criteria of sustainability will be published as separate documents.
1.5 Supplementary Planning Guidance
1.5.1 In addition to the Local Plan, Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) is to be published to enable more detailed guidance to be given on certain policies or area specific proposals included in the Local Plan. Such SPG is referenced in the appropriate part of the Local Plan and is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
1.6 Monitoring
1.6.1 The implementation of the Local Plan will be monitored through a series of indicators and targets, set out in each chapter. They will be used to assess the effectiveness of the policies in achieving the aims and objectives, and will inform and identify which policies may need to be changed in subsequent reviews of the Local Plan.
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