Development Management Development Plan (DPD)
Section 2: Development Management: Place-Shaping in Southend-on-Sea
The Southend-on-Sea LDF seeks to deliver positive social, economic and environmental outcomes through its development plan documents (DPDs). The Development Management DPD will reflect a desire to make planning a tool for achieving better outcomes rather than a test of adequacy. Development management is a positive and proactive approach to shaping, considering, determining and delivering development proposals.
Whilst the Development Management DPD will set out the development management policies in which to assess planning applications, the overall development management process now takes on a holistic approach from pre-application to delivery and encompasses the policy content of each of Southend-on-Sea’s LDF documents. Development management is not just a set of rules to restrict development but a process that actively facilitates the delivery of the place-shaping vision for Southend-on-Sea as set out in national planning policies, the Core Strategy and the Sustainable Community Strategy. The Council’s approach will help to satisfy the local area agreement targets and show that the integrated service delivery needed for comprehensive area assessment is achievable.
This Development Management DPD will provide an outcome based focus. The Council will seek to develop policies that will adopt an approach where planning application proposals will be directed towards an assessment of the way in which the proposed development will contribute to the desirable outcomes and any impacts that are likely to arise. The Council’s approach will encourage: effectiveness; efficiency; transparency; and predictability through the planning process. Development management in Southend-on-Sea will consequently:
- Deliver the vision and the strategic objectives of the Core Strategy and the Sustainable Community Strategy into high quality sustainable developments on the ground;
- Facilitate private investment and co-ordinate the delivery of public sector investment in capital works and revenue funded services to achieve good value for the community;
- Create a positive framework for the implementation of action on economic growth, climate change, social inclusion, healthy communities and other national 'big picture' imperatives;
- Protect quality environments and ensure that in new development any adverse impacts are identified and mitigated;
- Use a problem solving approach in order to influence planning proposals to achieve better quality places and better outcomes for the community; and
- Foster design excellence.
The Council will adopt a front loaded approach to development management with emphasis on pre-application discussions which may include discussions with residents and stakeholders as appropriate. The Council will ensure that the processes involved are appropriate to the scale and complexity of the development proposal and relevant legislation. They should also reflect the sensitivity, constraints and spatial policies relating to the development site and wider area.
The Council considers that improvements to development management process will require all parties within the process to be prepared to invest effort in discussions and provision of information prior to the submission of a planning application. Spending time on exchanging information during the critical period in which a development proposal is still fluid and capable of adaptation provides a collaborative way of working to solve problems, enhances sustainability and quality, ensures financial viability and delivers benefits to the community and the economy.
To gain value for money from a pre-application discussion, it is necessary for a developer to provide the Council with sufficient information so that the planning officer invites all the relevant people to participate. This is likely to include plans and photographs of the site and its surroundings, details of existing use and ownership and sufficient information about the development proposal to draw out a meaningful discussion. Scheme drawings should include preliminary plans, showing relationships to adjacent buildings, access, servicing and parking, and where possible some indication of the architectural approach and materials to be used.
The Council will ensure that any pre-application meeting or correspondence follows a structured approach that ensures the developer is left with a clear view on how the proposals will be assessed by the Council and an understanding of the changes needed to gain acceptability. The Council considers that there are significant benefits from well managed engagement prior to the submission of a planning application, which include:
- Improved quality of the proposed development;
- Opportunities for better co-ordination of investment in an area;
- Improved efficiency for all users by reducing wasted time and money spent on abortive work or going over old ground;
- Avoidance of incomplete/invalid applications;
- Consensus on planning conditions and s106 obligations that could otherwise delay implementation;
- Identification of who should be involved from the early stages and opportunities created for them to be heard in an effective way; and
- Additional clarity and certainty for both applicants and the community.
The Council will ensure that development management does not stop once a decision notice is issued. To reduce delays in delivery following planning application approval, the Council will seek to ensure that planning obligations are agreed prior to an applications determination. The Council will ensure the discharge and compliance with conditions and will also monitor the commencement of approved planning permissions and where appropriate provide assistance to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in delivery.
The Annual Monitoring Report will provide scope for monitoring and testing of the Development Management DPD policies to assess:
- How effective the policies are in achieving the outcomes required;
- The strength of policies in terms of how they can be implemented; and
- The processes used in development management e.g. for community and stakeholder engagement on development proposals.