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Local Plan review to protect green spaces

RUGBY Borough Council is to start a review of the Rugby Borough Local Plan.

Cllr Ian Picker
Cllr Ian Picker Published Monday, 19th December 2022

A full review is the quickest and most cost-effective way to align the Borough Plan with the council’s Climate Change and Town Centre Regeneration strategies, and also review the most up to date data on employment and housing need– which is a government requirement.

If the Council does not have an up-to-date Local Plan, there is a significant risk that the council’s ability, as the Local Planning Authority to influence and control development will be diminished through the application of the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

This would result in a requirement on the council for new development to be granted planning permission unless the adverse effects would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

This application of this so-called ‘tilted balance’ would reduce the ability of the council to apply its own planning policies with the potential consequence of developments coming forward that the council would have otherwise considered unacceptable. In these circumstances it is also likely that the council would lose more planning appeals and incur further costs to the taxpayer. The longer the gap between the current plan ‘expiring’ in June 2024 and the new plan being adopted the greater the risk.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and changes to our international trading relations have meant that the national economy has evolved and the need for employment land has changed. This council needs to ensure that Rugby continues to provide opportunities for residents of Rugby, by attracting inward investment and jobs across a diverse range of sectors to ensure that Rugby continues to be a place which is open for business.

The declaration of a Climate Emergency and the adoption of a Climate Strategy also means that the council needs new strategic policies to tackle this climate emergency and make sure that new development is sustainable and assists the council achieving net zero.

The adoption of the Town Centre Regeneration Strategy sets out our intention to focus new housing on brownfield land, in our town centre to reduce pressure on the green belt.

Cllr Ian Picker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Growth and Investment, said: “All of the planning authorities in the county are starting reviews of the local plan and starting a review at the same time will ensure that the borough remains in step in managing growth properly. It will also provide value for money for residents as many of the evidence bases that are required as part of any review can be jointly commissioned across the county which significantly reduces the cost to the council.

While some commentators would prefer us to carry out a partial review instead of a full one, this would be more expensive in the long run and would be a quick route to a plan that does not take account of all of the relevant data. This would result in all applications having to be decided with a presumption in favour of sustainable development. We value our green belt and the need to deliver our climate change and town centre ambitions too much to allow this to happen.

"Finally, a full review of the Local Plan will enable us to introduce new policies in areas such as HMO development and stadia which others have highlighted as a concern. I look forward to working with others to address these issues and deliver a Local Plan that embraces the opportunities and meets the challenges the Borough of Rugby faces."

Significant consultation with Councillors from all parties and the residents of the Borough will take place over the next two years. The timetable for the review of the Local Plan is set out in the Local Development Scheme and can be found at .

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