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You are here: Penwith on the Web/Living in Penwith/Sustainable Development and Improvement (Planning and Building Control)/Local Plan
Penwith District Local Plan
Adopted 2004
This Chapter in PDF format (82Kbs)
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Local Plan Menu
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1 Introduction
2 The Local Plan Area
3 Plan Strategy
4 Objectives
5 General Development Guidance
6 Coast and Countryside
7 Towns and Villages
8 Housing
9 Employment
10 Tourism
11 Recreation
12 Transportation
13 Community Services
14 Environmental Appraisal
15 Monitoring and Review
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Proposals Map
Inset Map
Plan Help
Terms and Conditions
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1 Introduction
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The Legislative Background

1.1.1 The 'development plan' system as it affects Cornwall comprises two elements namely the Cornwall Structure Plan and local plans. The former is a strategic document, prepared by the County Council, covering such issues as the level and distribution of employment and housing growth, major shopping developments and the protection of landscapes, habitats and features of historic interest, which are important nationally and within the context of the County. Local Plans are prepared by District Councils and address more local issues, setting out the Council's policies for the control of development and allocating land for specific purposes such as housing, employment, shopping and leisure. The County Council also has specific responsibility for the preparation of minerals and waste local plans.

1.1.2 Local Plans are required to be in general conformity with the Structure Plan and, in turn, both types of plan are formulated within the context of Government policy and guidance in the form of Circulars, Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs) and Regional Planning Guidance (RPGs). During the 1990s the Government updated the range of PPGs to reflect current issues and pressures and incorporate the concept of sustainability and environmental awareness. The Regional Planning Guidance for the South West (RPG 10) was adopted in 1994 and has a significant role in setting the framework for the preparation of structure plans.

1.1.3 The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning and Compensation Act 1991, together with the complementary Regulations and PPG 12 "Development Plans and Regional Planning Guidance", brought important changes to the development plan system which may be summarised as follows:

  • streamlined procedures for the preparation and adoption of structure plans and local plans;
  • structure plans to provide only the broad strategic framework for planning and not to include detailed development control policies;
  • the preparation of district-wide local plans made mandatory;
  • all development plans to include policies for the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of land and
  • increased emphasis on the theme of sustainability and a requirement for plans to include an appraisal of the environmental implications of policies and proposals.

1.1.4 In addition to the above the 1991 Act also gave considerably more weight to the provisions of the development plan in the consideration of planning applications through the insertion in the 1990 Act of Section 54A which reads as follows:

"Where, in making any determination under the Planning Acts, regard is to be had to the development plan, the determination shall be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise."

This has the effect of making the development plan of primary importance in development control decisions. Increased reliance on the provisions of structure and local plans in decision making will offer all those involved in the development process a greater degree of certainty but equally, if the plans are to be effective it is important that they are up-to-date and address current issues. A realistic end date to the local plan will be of some importance in this respect, together with the need for regular review.

1.1.5 The new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, which is to come into effect during 2004, will introduce a different development plan system. The Cornwall Structure Plan will, in due course, be replaced by the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the south west of England and the Local Plan will be replaced by a Local Development Framework (LDF). The LDF will comprise a folder of separate Local Development Documents relating to different issues. The Local Plan, will be 'saved' in the new framework until such time as it is replaced by relevant Local Development Documents. Following from the new Act PPG 12 is to be replaced by Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 12: Local Development Frameworks which sets out detailed guidance on the future arrangement for preparation, monitoring and review of the development plan.

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The Penwith Perspective

1.1.6 The Replacement Structure Plan, adopted in July 1997 and covering the period 1991 to 2011, superceded the First Alteration (1990) and relates to strategic matters with detailed development control requirements falling within the scope of local plans. A new structure plan is being prepared which relates to the Plan period to 2016. It was placed 'on Deposit' for formal consultation in September 1998 and is due to be adopted later in 2004. The Local Plan has been prepared in the context of the Structure Plan adopted in 1997 and all references relate to that document, unless otherwise stated. In updating the text, however, references to the 2004 policies are included (in brackets) where relevant.

1.1.7 The Penwith Local Plan has incorporated the development control requirements arising from changes to the form of the Structure Plan and, where relevant, the policies and proposals of the County Council's Countryside Local Plan, adopted in 1985 and covering various countryside issues. The adopted Local Plan will replace the Countryside Local Plan as well as Hayle and Penzance Local Plans, adopted in 1984 and 1991 respectively, and the old style St. Ives Town Map.

1.1.8 The Local Plan interprets the provisions of the Structure Plan and other relevant planning guidance at the local level and develops them into detailed policies to guide and co-ordinate development. It demonstrates how the forecast growth contained in the Structure Plan can be accommodated in the Plan area and provides a policy framework to act as a basis for day to day development control decisions. Local planning issues are also identified with the intention of securing maximum benefits to the community and environment. It is important that the Local Plan establishes a rational framework which can provide comprehensive guidance for development, within the context of the local needs, problems and other considerations of the area. The policies and proposals of the Local Plan will be used by the District and County Councils, as well as other statutory and public bodies, as a basis for decision making, investment and coordination of development. In preparing the Plan the Council has taken full account, therefore, of strategic guidance, national and regional policies and the resources likely to be available.

1.1.9 The new legislation referred to in para. 1.1.5 identifies the importance to be placed on linking local development plan documents to the needs, priorities and aspirations of the local community as identified in the area's Community Strategy. The Penwith Community Plan 'A Vision for the Future' was prepared in 2003 following extensive public consultation. The Local Plan was already at an advanced stage in its process before the emergence of the Community Plan; however, its strategy, objectives and policies, particularly its key central objective of achieving sustainable development, are relevant to the principal objectives, and many of the actions, of the Community Plan. As and when both documents are reviewed in the future, the relevant requirements of each will be fully taken into account.

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1.2.1 The Penwith Local Plan covers the entire administrative area of Penwith District Council for the period up to 2011. The base date for all figures contained in the Plan is 1991. Where later figures are referred to the relevant date is indicated. The Plan comprises a Written Statement and Proposals Map which consists of maps showing the Plan area including insets at larger scales. The Written Statement contains details of the policies and proposals supported by a reasoned justification. If any contradiction should arise between the Proposals Map and the Written Statement, the provisions of the Written Statement will prevail.

1.2.2 The Proposals Map defines the areas to which individual policies and proposals apply. To ensure clarity, larger scale insets have been used where problems of interpretation are likely to arise. The most recent data available has been referred to in updating the Proposals Map. However, some designations and boundaries are likely to change and the most recent information available from the relevant agencies will be used in implementing the policies of the Plan.

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1.3.1 In order to obtain an understanding of the Plan and its fundamental approach Sections 3 and 4, containing the Plan Strategy and Objectives, are essential reading. In the main body of the Plan each section (5 to 13) is structured in the same way, part 1 is the 'Introduction', part 2 outlines the national, regional, County and local 'Policy Background' and part 3 contains the 'Policies and Proposals' of the Plan relevant to that topic. While certain policies may be of specific relevance to a proposal, planning applications are decided in the context of all the relevant policies in the Local Plan. It is important to recognise, therefore, that ALL the policies of the Plan apply to any proposal and policies must be read together with others that are relevant.

1.3.2 Many of the policies in the Plan are interlinked and it is essential that they are not read in isolation, for example the General Development Guidance Policies in Section 5 are relevant to developments which are acceptable within the context of the specific policies in Sections 6 to 13. The Local Plan must also be read in conjunction with the most recent Structure Plan to establish the full range of policies that apply to the Local Plan area. At the end of each of the main sections (5 to 13) there is a table which lists the topics covered together with the relevant policy references from both the Local and Structure Plans. In order to aid identification all the POLICIES and PROPOSALS of the Local Plan are in CAPITALS.

1.3.3 Throughout the Plan every attempt has been made to make the wording of the policies as clear and concise as possible. The Plan nevertheless has to strike a balance between providing certainty about what developments are acceptable or unacceptable and allowing sufficient flexibility to accommodate the unforeseen. A further degree of flexibility is allowed for in Section 54A where account can be taken of other 'material considerations' in making planning decisions. Where such considerations prove relevant proposals will be advertised as a 'departure' from the Plan and referred to the Secretary of State for the Environment, where required, before permission is granted.

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1.4.1 Preparation of the Local Plan has involved a number of stages of public consultation and changes. After the initial consultation stage, and resulting changes, the Deposit Draft was published in October 1998. This stage provided the opportunity for formal objections and representations of support. Following discussions and negotiations with objectors and others Proposed (Pre Inquiry) Changes were published for consultation in July 2001. Further Proposed (Pre Inquiry) Changes, relating primarily to housing sites, were published in February 2002. Where objections could not be resolved, whether to the original Deposit version or to proposed changes, these issues were referred to a public Local Inquiry for decision. The Inquiry was held between April and September 2002 and the independent Inspector's report was published in February 2003.

1.4.2 Modifications to the Plan, which carried forward Proposed Changes already agreed by the Council and supported by the Inspector, together with additional changes recommended by the Inspector and agreed by the Council, were published in July 2003, with one further Modification published in November 2003. The Plan was finally adopted on 4th February 2004.

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1.5.1 The principle changes to the Plan during its process can be summarised as follows:

  • the Plan period has been extended to 2011, with consequent changes to the amount of housing and employment land to be provided;
  • the Plan Strategy incorporates a more specific spatial strategy;
  • incorporation of revised national guidance, in particular PPG 3: Housing (clearer emphasis on use of previously developed land) and PPG 13: Transportation (change in approach to parking provision);
  • increased emphasis on Open Areas Related to Settlements as part of the built environment (POLICY TV-2) and the setting and character of towns and villages (POLICY TV-1);
  • inclusion of 'key' policies in each section which together set out the overall approach of the Plan;
  • inclusion of an environmental appraisal.

1.5.2 Changes to the policies and proposals and specific changes to the supporting text have been incorporated in line with the Inspector's recommendations, although the paragraph reference, or order, may differ as a result of redrafting. A significant number of other changes have been made to the text as a consequence of the changes recommended, to be consistent, or to update the policy context or background information.

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