Position Statement December 2022
Rother District Council’s current Core Strategy Local Plan is now more than 5 years old, having been adopted on 29 September 2014, while the Development and Site Allocations Plan was adopted on 16 December 2019 In line with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), the Council must review Local Plans at least once every five years to ensure that policies remain relevant.
The delivery of the new Local Plan is a key priority for Rother District Council as it will set out our policy response to the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis as well as plan for sustainable development up to 2039. Given the significance of these challenges, the evidence gathering stage must be is as thorough as possible.
The Council published a Local Plan Early Engagement Document along with an Engagement Strategy in April 2021. Since this time, the Council has prioritised the development of its evidence base and has continued with its ‘duty to cooperate’ by working with government agencies, East Sussex County Council, neighbouring authorities across East Sussex and into Kent and our own councillors and officers to shape the Plan.
A new Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) was adopted by the Council in January 2022 and this document provides a clear indication of the methods of engagement it will use as the Local Plan progresses.
The Council wishes to ensure that its public consultation (known as regulation 18) is based on a well-developed Local Plan document. It was originally anticipated that we would undertake this consultation in Spring 2022. However, the detailed evidence base highlighted that further work is required to support the Plan.
We wish to take the opportunity to continue to work jointly with neighbouring planning authorities and have committed to liaising with our towns and parish councils before we formally consult. The Council has local elections in May 2023 and we are now planning to undertake public consultation after this, in June and July 2023.
The Council is currently prioritising:
- The completion of its Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). As part of this the Call for Sites remains open via the Call for Sites page.
- The delivery of an evidence base that responds to the Council’s key objectives in relation to the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, where national policy and guidance continues to develop.
- The production and delivery of a Local Plan for public consultation that is formatted as a draft plan, which will provide emerging policies under which planning applications will be determined.
The following documents have been prepared as part of the evidence base work. They will be subject to further review and potential refresh:
- The Council’s HELAA Methodology (Apr 2022)
- The Housing and Economic Development Need Assessment, prepared by GL Hearn with Justin Gardner Consulting, jointly for Hastings Borough Council and Rother District Council, August 2020
- The Rother District Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2021
- The East Sussex Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Needs Assessment (May 2022)
The Council will issue a new Local Development Scheme (LDS) to reflect the updated timeframe for the delivery of the Rother Local Plan alongside the Regulation 18 consultation.
HELAA – Call for Sites
To inform our evidence base for the new Local Plan we have invited landowners, agents, developers and other interested parties to put forward sites for consideration for housing and economic development.
The Rother District Council Call for Sites ran from 12 October 2020 to 7 December 2020. However, for the time being we are still accepting site submissions.
For further information or to submit a site, please visit the Call for Sites page.
Early Targeted Engagement on the Local Plan
The Council undertook targeted engagement at an early stage in the production of the local plan, in advance of proposed public consultation that will form the first public consultation stage later in 2022/23.
Two documents regarding this targeted engagement can be found below.
Sustainability Appraisal (SA)
Rother District Council worked jointly with Hastings Borough Council to prepare joint SA/SEA Scoping Report for the respective Local Plans. This document presents the SA framework which will be used to assess the development of policy options as the Local Plan progresses. The Scoping Report and is its supporting appendices can be found below: