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Purpose and scope of the Options document

1.4 As this is a partial update to the existing Plan, and not a new Plan, the scope of the changes is confined to those areas that can be addressed without changing the spatial priorities; the spatial strategy; or the strategic housing and job growth requirements in the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.

1.5 In March 2019, the Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to enable carbon neutrality in the district by 2030. An ecological emergency has also been declared in response to the escalating threat to wildlife and ecosystems. The Council has also reviewed its corporate strategy. The Council’s overriding purpose is to improve people’s lives and its core policies are addressing the climate and nature emergency and giving people a bigger say. In order to translate the purpose into commitments the Council will operate three key principles:

  • preparing for the future
  • delivering for local residents
  • focusing on prevention

1.6 The Council’s planning policy framework needs to be updated in order to ensure that it is aligned with these priorities and that specifically it helps to facilitate solutions that address the climate and nature emergency. This can be achieved without altering the spatial objectives set out in the Core Strategy as addressing climate change is already the cross- cutting theme of the existing Local Plan. 

1.7 A crucial role of the Local Plan is to maintain the supply of new housing in order to meet the Core Strategy housing requirement with sufficient flexibility to take account of changing circumstances. As referenced in the National Planning Practice Guidance, the Council is undertaking the partial update in order to provide greater certainty about the delivery of the Core Strategy. A plan-led solution to supply will help to ensure that housing is delivered in the most sustainable locations, with the necessary supporting infrastructure. 

1.8 Monitoring of the implementation of some Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan policies suggests that some policies need to be updated in order to ensure the outcomes sought are delivered. In addition, some policies may need to be revised or updated to reflect the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was updated after adoption of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan adoption, as well as other legislative changes. Finally, changes in circumstances resulting from COVID-19 and facilitating the post-COVID recovery may require some policies to be revised, principally those related to town centres or economic development.

1.9 In summary, the key proposed elements or scope of the partial update are set out below, and feedback is invited on this. 

  • Policies to deliver on the Council’s declaration of climate and ecological emergencies, including those on renewable energy generation, retrofitting, sustainable construction and biodiversity net gain, 
  • Transport and travel policies, including reviewing the parking standards
  • The approach to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), student accommodation, development on the University campuses
  • The district’s housing land supply and type available to meet the Housing Requirement to 2029,
  • The supply of employment land in light of green recovery objectives
  • The role of city and town centres in the context of ongoing changes affecting them
  • Review of some existing allocated development sites
  • Ensuring the efficient and effective use of the Bath Park & Ride sites

1.10 Sections of this document are as follows:

  • Section 2 District-wide Development Management policies proposed to be updated
  • Section 3 The strategy and sites proposed to address the housing supply shortfall
  • Section 4 Other place-based or site allocation issues
  • Section 5 District-wide policies that require minor modification for reasons of clarity, or to ensure they accord with latest national policy or legislation. The Options document primarily sets out proposed policy approaches (with options where relevant). In some instances (in Sections 2 and 5) proposed policy wording amendments are set out. Where this is the case, text proposed to be deleted is shown as a strikethrough and additions as underlined text.
  • Section 6 For clarity, this lists the existing policies that have no amendments proposed.