South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Preferred Options Further Regulation 18 (III) Sustainability Appraisal Consultation, Monday 1 March to Monday 19 April 2021
The South Worcestershire Councils (SWC) i.e. Malvern Hills, Worcester City and Wychavon are undertaking a further Regulation 18 (III) consultation as part of the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDPR).
Since the completion of the SWDPR Preferred Options consultation in December 2019, work has been progressing on the Publication version of the SWDPR (Regulation 19). However, the review of the SWDP has been delayed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our ability to collect evidence. The intention was for the next Regulation 19 stage of the consultation on the SWDP Review to be undertaken in the autumn of 2020, however lockdown restrictions have made it much more difficult to complete several technical assessments and evidence gathering needed to support the plan within the timeframe. Further, in updating the evidence base, legal advice from Counsel recommended that an additional round of consultation is factored into the SWDPR timetable prior to Submission of the plan for Examination to allow for updates relating to the Sustainability Appraisal to be made available for consultation.
Accordingly, an updated Local Development Scheme (LDS) for 2020-2023 was approved by each local authority in September 2020 (effective from 1 October 2020). The 2020-2023 LDS includes an updated SWDPR timetable, which has moved back the Publication version of the plan to October/November 2021. This allows for additional time to finalise the technical evidence base updates and also to include an additional further Regulation 18 (III) consultation to provide greater clarification and updates to elements of the Sustainability Appraisal evidence base work.
The Sustainability Appraisal is an ongoing process which tests the plan’s sites and policies against a Sustainability Framework, with a report published at each stage of the plan-making process. The Regulation 18 (III) Sustainability Appraisal update will provide information to help clarify the report published during the previous Regulation 18 (II) Preferred Options consultation carried out in November/December 2019.
A full Sustainability Appraisal (Environmental Report) will be produced for the Regulation 19 stage of the plan making process. This version of the appraisal will assess the sustainability of the proposed submission version of the SWDP Review.
The public consultation will run for seven weeks from Monday 1 March to Monday 19 April 2021.
This Regulation 18 (III) consultation is focused on the Sustainability Appraisal and will be technical in nature:
- The consultation is not seeking views on an updated version of the SWDP Review.
- This stage is not a further opportunity to make comments on proposed site allocations or policies published in the SWDP Review Preferred Options (2019); any such comments will not be considered.
Therefore, the material published for this consultation only relates to updates to the Sustainability Appraisal evidence base.
Further details relating to the consultation, including how to comment, can be viewed on the SWDP Review Regulation 18 (III) consultation webpage using the following link: https://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/swdp-review/swdp-review-regulation-18-3-sa-consultation.
The SWC have also published the schedule of summaries of the responses made to the SWDP Review Preferred Options consultation, conducted in November and December 2019; this can be viewed on the SWDP Review Preferred Options webpage using the following link: https://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/swdp-review/swdp-review-preferred-options-consultation.
Corin Beames, Acting Planning Policy Team Leader, Worcester City Council
Fred Davies, Planning Policy Manager, Malvern Hills District Council and Wychavon District Council