Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 3rd December 2015
Title of Item/Report
Regeneration & Environment Local Plan (RELP) Evidence Base Review
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that sought agreement for a review of the evidence base that informed the Regeneration & Environment Local Plan (RELP) prior to its submission to the Secretary of State for examination-in-public. It explained that the reasons for delay in the plan-making process were largely a result of constant change at a national level in planning legislation and guidance, which had incrementally changed the approach to plan-making and the range and level of evidence required to support it in a fundamental way.

This had undermined the development strategies that the adopted Core Strategy set out for the borough in 2010. The report also made it clear that an updated plan was unlikely to resolve the issue of a lack of a five year supply of land for housing. It contained a timetable for the review of the evidence base, an assessment of the implications of the revised evidence and, if necessary, a re-draft and re-consultation on a further version of the Publication RELP but also pointed out that this timetable may change for a variety of reasons. Finally it concluded that the outcome of the review may be that the Council needs a new local plan rather than amend the RELP.

If the evidence review indicated that the existing plan was basically sound with some minor revisions then the following timetable was proposed:-

• Evidence gathering, evidence review and re-draft of plan - January to September 2016.
• Cabinet & Council approval for 2nd Publication Consultation - October 2016.
• 2nd Publication Consultation - October to December 2016.
• Cabinet & Council approval for Submission of RELP for Examination - March 2017.
• Submission of RELP to Secretary of State for Examination - March 2017.
• Examination-in-public - July 2017.
• Adoption - November 2017.

If the evidence indicated a new local plan was required; a further report would be brought to Cabinet in September 2016 to explain the results of the new evidence and their implications for plan-making


1. The evidence base informing the planning policies in the RELP be reviewed.

2. A revised timetable for the review, the assessment of the implications of that new evidence, and, if necessary, a re-draft and re-consultation on the RELP before submitting it to the Secretary of State for Examination-in-Public.
Reasons for the Decision
1. The public consultation on the Publication RELP held in January & February 2015 generated a number of responses casting significant doubt on how robust the evidence base underpinning the plan was and stating intentions to challenge the plan at EIP on the grounds of a lack of an up-to-date robust evidence base;

2. To ensure that a timetable is in place to meet the government’s early 2017 deadline for the production of a local plan.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on 11th December 2015.

Date of Publication: 07 December 2015

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