Solihull Local Plan (Draft Submission) 2020
- In setting the Vision and Strategy for sustainable development in the Borough over the next fifteen years, the Local Plan is both aspirational and realistic. It is important to demonstrate that it is deliverable and to show how the challenges have been addressed. Going forward, policies need to be monitored to assess how successful they are over time, and evaluate how they may be improved in the future.
- Delivery may be enabled through a number of ways, including (but not limited to):
- Developer Contribution Policy
- Infrastructure Delivery Plan
- Planning Process
- Partnership working, including the West Midlands Combined Authority
- Urban Growth Company
- In recognising that it cannot deliver the Local Plan strategy alone, the Council will work with public, private and voluntary sector organisations to draw together the necessary resources.
Policy P21 Developer Contributions and Infrastructure Provision
- Major Development will be expected to provide, or contribute towards provision of:
- Measures to directly mitigate its impact and make it acceptable in planning terms
- Physical, social, green and digital infrastructure to support the needs associated with the development
- Infrastructure and mitigation measures will be provided in a timely manner to support the objectives of the Local Plan.
- The Council will, where appropriate, seek to secure site-specific measures through planning obligations. The nature and scale of any planning obligations sought will be related to the form of development and its potential impact on the site and surrounding area. The cumulative impact of developments will also be taken into account.
- The Plan has been subject to a Viability Assessment to ensure the policies are deliverable. In the exceptional circumstances where site specific issues generate viability concerns, applicants should discuss these with the Council at the earliest possible stage in the development process. Proposals that are unable to comply with the Plan's policies on viability grounds must be accompanied by a detailed Viability Assessment.
- Developer contributions in the form of the Community Infrastructure Levy will contribute towards strategic infrastructure required to support the overall development in the Local Plan An element of CIL will, where appropriate, also be utilised to deliver local infrastructure requirements in accordance with Neighbourhood Plans in accordance with CIL legislation.
- Contributions secured through planning obligations may be pooled to address need or cumulative impacts arising from more than one development proposal.
- The Council will work in partnership with infrastructure providers and other delivery agencies in updating the Infrastructure Delivery Plan.
- Whilst minor developments are less likely to contribute towards developer contributions requests may still be sought where the proposal has a specific impact upon local infrastructure that requires mitigation in order to make it acceptable in planning terms.
Infrastructure Delivery Plan
- Planning for infrastructure is an essential element in delivering the local plan. Infrastructure in this sense is not just the physical infrastructure such as roads and pipes, but also the, social, green and digital infrastructure (e.g. health care, open spaces, community facilities etc.) required to enable sustainable development.
- The 2020 Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) provides a baseline of the existing infrastructure capacity and needs in the Borough, including a gap analysis. The IDP aims to:
- Set out the existing infrastructure capacity and needs in the Borough with the lead delivery organisations and their partners;
- Assess the impact of the proposed scale and location of development in the Borough over the plan period on infrastructure, where this information is available;
- List the projects which will address existing and future infrastructure needs, where possible; and
- Align the implementation of the IDP with the aims and objectives of other national, regional, local or neighbourhood strategies and plans.
- The Infrastructure Schedule identifies the list of 'essential' and 'desirable' infrastructure. It is anticipated that developer contributions will not be sufficient to fund, and hence deliver all essential infrastructure, particularly major schemes such as strategic transport projects. Such infrastructure will be delivered via funding secured from other sources, e.g. from the WMCA.
- New development will be expected to meet its own physical infrastructure needs, such as on-site provision of utilities or a new road junction to access a site. Where new development puts pressure on social or green infrastructure, or creates a need, e.g. for new community facilities or open space, then provision will also have to be made for these. Where necessary and viable, these will be secured through developer contributions. Early consideration of infrastructure needs and integration into the design will reduce the end-costs of provision. It will also be expected that the cost of affordable housing will be met by development.
- The site policies for each of the allocations set out the likely infrastructure requirements for each of the sites the Council has identified.
- Developer contributions may be sought as Section 106 obligations, Section 278 agreements or through the adopted Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule.
- Statutory agencies, such as water companies, are also responsible for meeting their statutory obligations and responding to growth.
- There will be a need for both public and private sector investment in capital infrastructure and revenue streams to support development. The Council will carry out its statutory duties and work with lead delivery partners to optimise the use of its assets and bid for public sector funding from national, regional, strategic and local grants.
- Information regarding the expected contributions associated with this Policy is set out in the Planning Obligations and Standards of this Local Plan. This has been subject to scrutiny through the Local Plan Viability Study and meets the requirements of the national Planning Practice Guidance. National guidance is clear that where up-to-date policies have set out the contributions expected from development, planning applications that comply with them should be assumed to be viable.
- However, there may be exceptional circumstances which mean the planning obligations and polices render a development, which otherwise positively contributes to the delivery of the Local Plan, unviable. In these cases, applicants will be expected to demonstrate how planning obligations and policies result in the development being unviable by preparing a Viability Assessment.
- The weight given to any viability assessment submitted alongside a planning application will be a matter for the Local Planning Authority and will only be considered where there are costs associated with a particular site which could not have been envisaged at the Plan-making stage or where circumstances have changed since the plan was brought into force.
- The Viability Assessment should be undertaken in accordance with the RICS Guidance Note on "Financial Viability in Planning" or any updates of this guidance. The Viability Assessment will be reviewed by the Council, however where conflicting views remain an independent viability specialist may be appointed by the Council at the applicant's expense in order to reach an agreed position.
Section 106 obligations
- Planning obligations or 'Section 106 agreements' may be entered into by developers as part of the development process. They are used to mitigate the impact of development, to compensate for the loss of or damage to specific features, or to prescribe the form of development and will be:
- Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
- Directly related to the development; and
- Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development
- Planning obligations will continue to be used to ensure the site specific mitigation measures required in connection with a proposed development are properly and timely secured. The pooling restriction on planning obligations has been lifted through the 2019 amendment to the CIL Regulations. The Infrastructure Funding Statement (see below) sets out the priorities for Section 106 obligations and CIL.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
- The Council adopted its CIL Charging Schedule in 2016 and relevant planning permissions that are now granted are liable to the levy. As part of the viability work for the Local Plan Review, the CIL charging schedule is under review to ensure the levy supports the viability of site delivery.
- CIL will contribute to the provision of strategic infrastructure and that which arises from a larger number of incremental developments. CIL will also have an important role to play in assisting local communities to fund the infrastructure projects they wish to prioritise. This will be achieved through the proportion of the levy being collected being passed on to the communities concerned in parished areas and elsewhere via the Council's approach to distributing Neighbourhood CIL (NCIL).
Infrastructure Funding Statement
- The Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) is intended to help local communities and developers understand how contributions have been spent and understand what funds will be spent on in the future. Infrastructure Funding Statements should cover both S106 contributions and receipts from the Community Infrastructure Levy. Local Planning Authorities should publish data on the contributions received and spent on at least an annual basis to ensure transparency and accountability. This will give communities a better understanding of the developments that have funded infrastructure provision in their area, as well as the Local Authority's spending priorities for the future.
- Spending priorities for infrastructure and affordable housing should reflect relevant up-to-date or emerging plan policies. The role of the IFS is to demonstrate and shed light on how developer contributions seek to deliver relevant strategic policies, including specific infrastructure projects, as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This enables transparency throughout any given plan period, understanding how infrastructure needs change with development over an extended time.
- The Council has a 'Duty to Co-operate' and often works in partnership with other bodies and the local communities to determine and deliver these and other services. It has been working with, and will continue to work with other statutory delivery agencies to enable delivery of the Local Plan objectives.
- Partnership working has involved working with (but not limited to):
- Developers, landowners, business and community interests to secure deliverable development.
- Neighbouring authorities
- Local parish councils, communities and neighbourhood forums
- West Midland Combined Authority
- Clinical Commissioning Group
- Statutory agencies such as the Environment Agency, Highways England, Homes England, Forestry Commission and Sport England.
- Solihull MBC has a pivotal role as service and infrastructure provider. Some of the Council's duties include that as:
- Local Highways Authority
- Local Education Authority
- Local Housing Authority
- Waste and Minerals Authority
- Adult and Children's Social Care
- Lead Local Flood Authority
- In preparing the Local Plan, the Council has considered the requirements of other public service providers. Delivering many of these services will be critical to delivering the Local Plan objectives. The Council will work these service providers in delivering the Local Plan.
- A key role for the Council is as the local planning authority and the determination of planning applications. Planning decisions will be made by the Council in line with the policies in this plan, which reflect the vision and objectives set out in the Local Plan and other supporting documents.
Further policy development (Plan-making)
- Site allocations in the Local Plan have been based on an up-to-date "Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment" (SHELAA) for the Borough, as well as Viability Assessment and evidence gathering for concept masterplans to ensure robustness of delivery.
- The Employment Land Review confirms that allocated employment sites are suitable and deliverable over the plan period.
- For some local plan policies further details may need to be set out in other supporting documents such as Supplementary Planning Documents. Where necessary, the Council will prepare these to provide additional guidance to applicants.
- Neighbourhood Plans can be produced by Parish Councils or in the absence of a Parish Council by Neighbourhood Forums. They can identify how an area should grow and change. While Neighbourhood Plans provide another opportunity for local people to influence what is built in their area – it should be noted that these need to be in conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan and can only provide for equal or additional growth. A Neighbourhood Plan becomes part of the statutory plan for Solihull, and its policies will be afforded full weight once the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted.
- We will proactively work with local communities to bring forward Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders.
- As part of the Community Infrastructure Levy, a proportion of CIL collected is apportioned for spending in specific neighbourhood areas. The Neighbourhood proportion of CIL works as a way for local communities to help address the demands of a new development on the local area. In Solihull, the approach for apportioning is either on a ward or parish area. Where a Neighbourhood Plan is in place, parishes or neighbourhood forums will receive 25% of all funds collected from development in an area. Where no Neighbourhood Plan is adopted, areas will receive 15% of all funds collected (capped at £100 per Council Tax dwelling).
- The process of spending the Neighbourhood Proportion lies either with the Parish Council or the Collecting Authority (SMBC) if the area is unparished. In areas without a Parish Council, the Council will allocate funds to communities through a grant allocation process. The Neighbourhood Proportion can be spent on a wider range of projects and services than the main, strategic proportion. This allows for communities to address the specific needs of the area impacted by development.
Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy
A Mitigating and adapting to Climate Change
B Meeting housing needs across the Borough, including the Borough's own needs and, where possible, assisting with accommodating the HMA wide shortfall.
C Sustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull
D Securing sustainable economic growth
E Protecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements
F Reducing inequalities in the Borough
G To maintain a supply of gypsy and traveller sites.
H Increasing accessibility and encouraging sustainable travel
I Providing sufficient waste management facilities and providing for sand and gravel aggregates
J Improving health and well being
K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets
L Water quality and flood risk
M Maximising the economic and social benefits of the High Speed 2 rail link and Interchange
N Mitigating the impacts of High Speed 2 and the growth associated with the Interchange area
- Monitoring is an essential component of an effective planning system. Under the plan-monitor-manage approach, monitoring plays an important role in evaluating policy performance, understanding policy implications and formulating robust policies.
- The purpose of the local plan monitoring framework is to:
- Assess the performance of the plan in delivering the spatial vision and objectives
- Establish whether policies have unintended consequences
- Identify a need for additional, amended or deletion of policies or supplementary planning documents
- Establish whether targets are being achieved; and establish whether assumptions and objectives behind policies are still relevant; and
- Demonstrate the plan is deliverable in the plan period.
- The outcome of the monitoring may result in:
- A review or partial review of the local plan (where policies have been identified as not performing); or
- Providing for the preparation of supplementary planning documents or other supporting evidence/documents
- A schedule of monitoring indicators is set out in an appendix.