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1. The Role of the Mid Suffolk Local Plan


1.1 The Mid Suffolk Local Plan covers the whole of the administrative District of Mid Suffolk. The Plan area is shown on Diagram 1. It is the intention of the Plan, in support of a plan-led system which the Secretary of State for the Environment is promoting, to provide:-

Guidance - to help people plan the use of their land confidently and sensibly and to help the District Planning Authority to interpret the public interest consistently and to the long term benefit of the community;

Incentive - by allocating land for particular types of development, the District Council can stimulate development to provide homes and job opportunities whilst at the same time protecting the environment; and

Control - which ensures that developers cannot ultimately insist for private reasons on a change which would be against the public interest, and that people affected by proposals for change can have their views considered.

The three main components of a plan-led town and country planning system.

What is a Local Plan?  

1.2 The Local Plan is a document setting out detailed policies and specific proposals for the development and use of land. It will guide the District Planning Authority in most day-to-day planning decisions. The preparation and regular review of Local Plans gives local communities the opportunity to participate in planning choices about where development should take place.

A document to guide decision-making.

1.3 Policies perform two functions:-

(i) they indicate the response of the District Planning Authority to different types of land use and development; and

(ii) they set out the criteria against which applications for planning permission are considered.

The function of policies and proposals.

Therefore they provide the basis for development control.

Proposals also have two functions:-

(i) they define areas within which particular policies apply; and

(ii) they identify individual sites for a particular type of development or land use. These are sometimes known as land allocations.

Taken together, the policies and proposals therefore express the objectives of the Local Plan. For ready identification, policies are printed in BOLD CAPITALS whilst proposals are printed in CAPITAL ITALICS.

The function of policies and proposals.

The Policy Context in which the Local Plan has been Prepared


1.4 National context - the Government prepares national guidance to be taken into account both in preparing local plans and in decisions on individual planning applications. The aim is to secure consistency of approach by setting out clearly the Government's priorities for land use and development. Since 1988, the Government has been issuing guidance in the form of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) on subjects such as Housing, Countryside and the Rural Economy and Tourism. Planning Policy
Guidance Notes.
1.5 Regional context - the Government issues regional planning guidance setting out broad strategic policies where there are planning issues which, though not of national scope, apply across regions or parts of regions and which need to be considered on a scale wider than the area of a single local authority. A Regional Planning Guidance Note (RPG6) has been issued for East Anglia. The strategy seeks to disperse investment in jobs from the most prosperous and congested areas in the west of the region, and Cambridgeshire in particular, to those areas in Norfolk and Suffolk where the improvement in trunk roads is expected to increase their attractiveness for economic development. The extent to which this can be achieved in practice depends on the consistency of the policies operated by the planning authorities for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Strategic guidelines for
East Anglia.
1.6 County Structure Plan - the overall guidance for planning in Suffolk is provided by the County Structure Plan. This document sets out County-wide policies on housing, including figures for the amount of new housing in each District, the rural economy, strategic transport and highway facilities, mineral working, waste treatment and disposal and other land use subjects covered in more detail in Local Plans. The preparation of the Mid Suffolk Local Plan has been carried out to conform with the adopted County Structure Plan (Incorporating Alterations 1, 2 and 3) which was adopted in June 1995. The Mid Suffolk Local Plan takes account of the Structure Plan’s overall strategy and the balance it creates between development and conservation and how proposed development will be served by transport and other infrastructure. The scope of the County Structure Plan.
Which Planning Guidance takes Precedence?  

1.7 In the event of conflict between the provisions of a Local Plan and those of a County Structure Plan, it is the Local Plan that will prevail unless the County Council have previously stated that they consider the Local Plan is not in general conformity with the Structure Plan and the Local Plan has not subsequently been altered or replaced.

In addition to these statutory planning documents, the law courts held that the Government’s statements of planning policy (such as PPGs) are material considerations which must be taken into account, where relevant, in decisions on planning applications.

The status of the Local Plan.
Keeping the Local Plan Up-To-Date  
1.8 The policies and proposals of the Local Plan have been presented in a way that will allow them to be monitored and, where necessary, reviewed. The effectiveness of the Plan will very much depend on keeping it up-to-date. To assist in this updating process, the Local Plan includes objectives and specific targets against which its performance can be measured and these are clearly highlighted in the text. The stated objectives and targets help to identify the District Planning Authority's priorities and provide a consistent basis for monitoring whether the Plan is achieving its original intentions and what parts of the Plan need to be strengthened or changed. Setting objectives and
targets against which
to measure progress.
The Form and Presentation of the Local Plan  
1.9 The Mid Suffolk Local Plan consists of a Written Statement and a Proposals Map. The Written Statement sets out the principal contents of the Plan, namely its policies and proposals together with a brief justification as to why they have been put forward by the District Planning Authority as a basis for deciding planning applications. Each chapter covers a different land use subject or group of subjects. The chapter is introduced by referring to a set of objectives and is concluded by targets that the Local Plan hopes to achieve. The Written Statement is concluded by explaining the ways in which the Plan will be implemented, by which agencies and over what period. The Written Statement.
1.10 The Proposals Map has the task of illustrating how the policies and proposals of the Written Statement apply, defining sites for particular developments or land uses and the areas to which policies will be applied. The Map is on an Ordnance Survey base and, to allow greater clarity, it is accompanied by Inset Maps at a larger scale. There are Inset Maps for all the towns and villages in the Plan area. Separate Inset Maps have been prepared for Stowmarket town centre and for major industrial estates and recreation sites. For purposes of identification the boundaries of each Inset Map are shown on the Proposals Map. The Proposals Map.
1.11 Stowmarket Strategic Development Area - A separate chapter has been prepared to amplify the policies and proposals relating to major development in Stowmarket. This reflects the importance attached to the development and the District Planning Authority’s commitment to a sustainable form of development.  


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