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Chapter 14
14.1 Introduction
  1. The Local Plan will be implemented by a range of organisations, groups and individuals. It provides the context for investment decisions and the development and delivery of services by the public, private and voluntary sectors. Most development, which takes place within the framework set by the Local Plan, will be carried out by private developers. However, the Council also has a key role in its implementation.
  2. Through its planning control powers, the Council co-ordinates the land use and development activities of other agencies. Although this is essentially a regulatory function, making decisions on schemes put forward by other parties, it provides a strong basis on which to seek modifications to proposals and to advise on detailed matters in order to secure improvement to proposed schemes.
  3. The Council also operates in a proactive and enabling role by allocating development sites in the Local Plan; by working in partnership with other interests; through its actions as a landowner; and also by using land assembly powers where considered appropriate. As a major landowner, the Council is in a position to promote and encourage specific development on its land and on adjacent land by entering into partnership agreements with companies in the private sector.
  4. The regeneration of Harlow’s economy is one of the primary aims of the Local Plan. The Council will work in partnership with relevant organisations to achieve this aim. It is important for the successful implementation of the Plan that the actions of these organisations are consistent with, and directly related to, the Local Plan’s Vision, Aims and Objectives.
14.2 Planning Obligations
14.2.1 The development of land can create a need for the provision of services, infrastructure and facilities, both on-site and off-site. This provision may include:
  a) Community and social facilities;
  b) Transport improvements;
  c) Culture, leisure and recreation facilities;
  d) Utility services;
  e) Education and health facilities;
  f) Emergency service requirements;
  g) Measures to protect and enhance amenity or the environment, including biodiversity and wildlife habitats.
  Requirements for individual developments will depend on the nature of the proposals and specific site circumstances.
14.2.2 As it is undesirable for development to create an undue additional burden on the community or public purse, developers should accept the financial consequences of their schemes. Where possible negotiations with developers as part of the process of determining planning applications, or conditions attached to grants of planning permission, will be used to create acceptable development in line with the Local Plan’s Vision and Objectives, including the provision of all relevant services, infrastructure and facilities.
14.2.3 If the necessary requirements generated by a development cannot be achieved through such negotiations or condition, they will normally be secured as planning obligations under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended by section 12(1) of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991) in association with a grant of planning permission.
14.2.4 Section 106 provides that anyone with an interest in land may enter into such a planning obligation (also known as a planning or Section 106 agreement) with a local authority (or unilaterally) regarding the use of development of the land.
14.2.5 Such agreements are a very effective means of ensuring that public services keep pace with private sector development and will play an important role in implementing the Local Plan. They can ensure relevant infrastructure and facilities are provided, enhance the quality of a development and enable schemes to go ahead which would otherwise be refused planning permission. Items provided as a part of a section 106 agreement must be necessary, relevant to planning and directly related to the proposed development in nature, scale and kind.
14.2.6 In addition to securing necessary infrastructure, services and facilities, planning obligations may involve measures to ensure development takes place in an agreed way, for example, by setting out the appropriate phasing of development, and measures to meet other policies and objectives, such as the protection of the environment.
IMP1 Planning permission will only be granted for any development if the provision is secured for related infrastructure, services, facilities and environmental protection which are fairly and reasonably related to the proposal in scale and in kind.
  The provision of such requirements shall be secured either as part of development proposals, through the use of conditions attached to planning permissions, or through planning obligations. Where provision on an application site is not feasible, provision elsewhere, or a contribution towards this provision will be sought.
  Where a planning application is for part of a larger area planned for development, a pro rata provision of any necessary facilities services or infrastructure, or a contribution toward them will be sought.
14.3 Off-Site Provision and Commuted Payments
14.3.1 It is not always possible or desirable to provide necessary facilities on site. In such cases, off-site provision may be sought, where applicable. Also, requirements may be met by the payment of commuted sums into a fund for provision by another party.
14.3.2 While the need for the provision of infrastructure and services as a result of a development is clear on large schemes, the development of small sites also contributes to the need for such provision, particularly through their cumulative impact. So that smaller developments contribute a fair proportion of such costs, pro rata payments may be sought.
14.4 Further Guidance
14.4.1 As circumstances change over the lifetime of a local plan and different forms of development and different locations create specific requirements, it is not appropriate for this Local Plan to list what is likely to be sought from planning obligations on individual sites or priorities for infrastructure and service provision.
14.4.2 However, to increase certainty, transparency and consistency in relation to planning obligations, the Council will produce separate “supplementary planning guidance” which will outline priorities for the provision of infrastructure and facilities as part of such agreements. The guidance will also specify the size of development at which provision may be sought and explain how commuted payments will be calculated. This will be reviewed periodically to take account of changing circumstances.
14.4.3 This guidance will act as a basis for the negotiation of planning obligations, but the specific locational circumstances of each site and the viability of development will also be taken into account in preparing such agreements.
14.5 Land Assembly
14.5.1 The majority of development in the Local Plan period will be undertaken by private developers working within the framework set by Local Plan policies and the Council’s development control decisions. However, the Council can also play an important positive role in implementation by facilitating development through use of its land assembly powers. This can be achieved either by purchasing properties at market rates or by using compulsory purchase powers.
14.5.2 Land assembly can be a complex and time-consuming process. As a result, the Council will use its powers sparingly, concentrating on priority sites. Council involvement in land assembly is likely to be particularly important at locations where land ownership issues act as a constraint on development and on large sites such as the regeneration of the Town Centre.
14.5.3 On sites where land assembly is required, the Council will work in partnership with developers and other relevant parties to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
14.6 Enforcement
14.6.1 In order to maintain public confidence in the effectiveness of the planning control system and achieve development which accords with the provisions of the Local Plan, it is important that unsatisfactory unauthorised development is remedied.
14.6.2 The Council will consider taking enforcement action in instances where development occurs which is:
  a) Without the necessary grant of planning permission or other consent;
  b) Contrary to relevant policies contained within the Local Plan or other guidance;
  c) Considered harmful to the amenities of an area.
14.6.3 Enforcement action should be taken to remedy unsatisfactory unauthorised development or mitigate against its effects only when it is in the public interest and expedient to do so. In considering such action, the Council will assess whether the breach of control unacceptably affects public amenity or land and buildings which merit protection in the public interest.
14.6.4 Enforcement procedure is based in law and must be carried out in accordance with statute. As a result, enforcement action can be a lengthy process. However, when taking action to remedy a breach in planning control, the correct procedure must be followed even if this means that such breaches cannot be resolved immediately.
14.6.5 To assist in achieving good enforcement principles the Council has produced enforcement policies and procedures, which are fully in accordance with the principles, aims and objectives of the Enforcement Concordat (an agreement formed by the Government in consultation with the Local Government Association, the Conference of Scottish Local Authorities, and the Scottish and Welsh Office).
14.7 Supplementary Planning Guidance
14.7.1 The Local Plan cannot contain information on all matters relevant to planning in Harlow without becoming too long and excessively detailed. Where appropriate, the Council will prepare additional guidance to supplement the content of the Local Plan to assist those preparing planning applications.
14.7.2 Supplementary planning guidance (SPG) can provide specialist advice on particular matters and contain more comprehensive information than would be suitable in a local plan. It must be consistent with the provisions of the development plan and national and regional guidance. SPG should not include new material relating to the development or use of land which is not in line with the contents of a local plan.
14.7.3 Although only the policies in a local plan have the full status in deciding planning applications which is conferred by section 54A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, supplementary planning guidance can be a “material” consideration. The weight given to the content of supplementary planning guidance is greater if it has been prepared in consultation with the public, business and other interested parties and has been subject to a Council resolution to adopt it. Supplementary planning guidance to this Local Plan will be produced in accordance to this procedure, although not necessarily at the same time as the consultation period for the Local Plan.
14.7.4 A list of available and proposed supplementary planning guidance will be produced and revised whenever necessary.
14.8 Monitoring and Review
14.8.1 To ensure that the Local Plan remains effective in meeting its aims and the aspirations of the people of Harlow, it is necessary to regularly assess its performance. Also, as the context provided by Government guidance and local and national circumstances are continually evolving, it is important to monitor other matters which may affect the planning of the District and the assumptions on which the Local Plan is based.
14.8.2 The Council will regularly monitor the Local Plan against indicators and targets relating to key policy areas. These are set out in the tables at the end of this chapter. They provide a consistent basis for identifying changes in the context within which the Local Plan is operating and assessing how successfully the aims are achieved.
14.8.3 The indicators have been selected in light of Best Value Performance Indicators (BVI) and some are included in the tables. The Local Plan’s indicators are not intended to be a detailed or comprehensive set of criteria to assess every policy in the Local Plan or to duplicate indicators which are more appropriately monitored elsewhere. They have been selected to ensure monitoring is practical and can be achieved.
14.8.4 The nature of some of the information means that it is not appropriate to set targets relating to them although the data will be collected to provide the Council with additional information on the District or the performance of the Local Plan. This is the case with population and unemployment data and basic information on the amount of floorspace constructed for certain uses.
14.8.5 In addition to the indicators contained in the table, the Council will also continue to review:
  a) Changes in other policies and objectives of the Council and other agencies with an interest in the area;
  b) Changes in Government guidance;
  c) Changes to the local plans and structure plans of adjacent authorities;
  d) Trends in the development industry and the wider economy.
14.8.6 The Council will publish a report annually which sets out the results of the monitoring process. This will be presented to the Council’s Environment Committee and made publicly available. If necessary, it will highlight the need for amendments or formal alterations to the Local Plan.
14.8.7 Explanatory notes and more detailed definitions of the indicators, including the time period over which each one will be measured, will be included as part of the monitoring report.
1 Number of planning applications advertised as departures from the Plan and approved as a percentage of total number of planning applications approved in the year. BVPI 108 Less than 1% of the total planning applications approved in a year.
2 Percentage of appeals where the Council’s decision is overturned. BVPI 112(6) Less than 1% of the total appeals heard in a year
  Sustainable Development    
3 Percentage of completed developments that met the sequential test. SD3 100% of completed developments, to which Policy SD3 applies, meet policy requirements.
4 Percentage of planning applications approved on mixed use developments where proposals are for compatible uses. SD4/SD5 100% of planning applications approved, to which Policy SD4 applies, meet policy requirements.
5 Percentage of dwelling completions on previously developed land. BVPI 106 60% of dwelling completions on developments, to which BVPI 106 applies, meet policy requirements.
6 Average density of 30 dwellings per hectare to be achieved on allocated housing sites. H1 100% of dwelling completions, on developments to which Policy H1 applies, meet policy requirements.
7 Dwelling completions to meet the annual dwelling requirement. H2 90% of the annual dwellings requirement of 262 is met.
8 Percentage of planning applications approved, for developments that are eligible for affordable housing, that have negotiated 30% affordable housing. H5 100% of housing planning applications approved, to which Policy H5 applies, meet policy requirements.
  Economic Regeneration    
9 Percentage of planning applications approved for B1, B2 and B8 developments on sites not allocated in Local Plan and not located within the designated employment areas that met the sequential test. ER3 100% of planning applications approved to which Policy ER3 applies, meet policy requirements.
10 The amount of employment land lost to non-employment Uses in the Employment Areas. ER2, ER5 No loss of employment land to non-employment uses.
11 Percentage of planning applications approved for new and expanding employment companies that agree to operate local recruitment, training, education and child care. ER13 90% of planning applications approved, to which Policy ER13 applies, meet policy requirements.
12 Percentage of planning applications approved for major developments that submit a Transport Impact Assessment. T3 100% of planning applications approved, to which Policy T3 applies, meet policy requirements.
13 Percentage of planning applications approved for new and expanding employment companies that submitted a Green Commuter Plan. T4 90% of planning applications approved, to which Policy T4 applies, meet policy requirements.
14 Percentage of planning applications approved for developments that require the provision for rail, bus, taxi or cycleways. T6/T8 90% of planning applications approved, to which Policy T8 applies, meet policy requirements.
  Leisure & Culture    
15 Number of playing fields lost where no comparable replacement is provided. L1 No loss of playing fields to development unless in accordance with Policy L1.
16 Number of sport, leisure or recreation facility lost where no comparable replacement is provided. L3 No loss of sport, leisure or recreation facility to development unless in accordance with Policy L3.
17 Number of cultural & entertainment facilities lost where no comparable replacement is provided. L14 No loss of cultural & entertainment facilities to development unless in accordance with Policy L14.
  Natural Environment    
18 Percentage of planning applications approved for development in the Green Wedge NE1 No planning applications approved for development that is contrary to Policy NE1.
19 Percentage of planning applications approved for development in the Green Belt. NE3 No planning applications approved for development that is contrary to Policy NE3.
20 Percentage of planning applications approved for development in the Special Restraint Area. NE5 No planning applications approved for development that is contrary to Policy NE5.
21 Percentage of planning applications approved for development on the internal Open Spaces, wildlife sites & verges NE7, NE16, NE17, NE18 & NE19 No planning applications approved for development that is contrary to Policies NE7, NE16, NE17, NE18 & NE19.
22 Percentage of planning applications approved for change of use, alteration or extension to any building open to the public or used for educational or employment purposes that has full accessibility for all. BE4 100% of planning applications approved, to which Policy BE4 applies, meet policy requirements.
23 Number of listed buildings that are damaged or demolished each year. BE6/BE7 No listed building damaged or demolished through development.
24 The percentage of sites that may contain archaeological remains and are proposed for development that are given an archaeological field evaluation. BE14 100% of planning applications approved, for developments to which Policy BE14 applies, meet policy requirements.
  Regenerating the Town Centre    

Percentage of retail/town centre uses’ floor area completed in:
a) Town Centre
b) Neighbourhood Centres
c) Hatches

RTCS1 More than 90% of floor area completed, to which Policy RTCS1 applies, meet policy requirements. (i.e. less than 10% on out of town centre sites)
26 New Out of Centre Sites RTCS1 No planning applications approved for new out of centre sites.
27 Percentage of A1 uses to A2 & A3 in primary shopping frontage. RTCS10 No planning applications approved which increase A2 & A3 uses above 15% of primary shopping frontage.
  Community Facilities    
28 Percentage of planning applications approved on major developments which provide and contribute to community facilities. CP1 100% of planning applications approved, to which Policy CP1 applies, meets policy requirements.
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