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2. SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

2.1 Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 local authorities are expected “to keep under review matters which may be expected to affect the development of their area or the planning of its development”, such matters to include:

2.2 LPAs, in formulating the policies in their development plans, are also required to have regard to any regional and strategic planning guidance and to current national policies. National policies are set out in a series of Planning Policy Guidance notes (PPGs) and Planning Policy Statements (PPSs). These are referred to as appropriate in relation to specific topic areas in Part II of the plan.

2.3 PPG12 sets the general parameters for preparing the development plan in terms of both content and process. In particular, it

2.4 The UK’s revised sustainable development strategy, “Securing the Future” was published in March 2005. The Strategy presents a new “purpose” which has been adopted as the new framework goal for sustainable development:

“the goal of sustainable development is to enable people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations”

2.5 A set of five key principles has been agreed between the UK Government and the devolved administrations:

2.6 The strategy identifies four key priority areas for UK action:

2.7 PPS1 “Delivering Sustainable Development” sets out the overarching planning policies on the delivery of sustainable development through the planning system. Paras 1-3 state:

“Planning shapes the places where people live and work and the country we live in. Good planning ensures that we get the right development, in the right place and at the right time. It makes a positive difference to people’s lives and helps to deliver homes, jobs and better opportunities for all, whilst protecting and enhancing the natural and historic environment, and conserving the countryside and open spaces that are vital resources for everyone. But poor planning can result in a legacy for current and future generations of run-down town centres, unsafe and dilapidated housing, crime and disorder, and the loss of our finest countryside.

Good planning is a positive and proactive process, operating in the public interest through a system of plan preparation and control over the development and use of land.

Sustainable development is the core principle underpinning planning. At the heart of sustainable development is the simple idea of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for future generations. A widely used definition was drawn up by the Commission on Environment and Development in 1987:

“development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

2.8 PPS1 goes on to state that Planning should facilitate and promote sustainable and inclusive patterns of urban and rural development by

2.9 Bromley, as a London Borough, has to be seen in the wider strategic context as part of the Greater London Region and, beyond that, as part of the rest of the South-East of England. The contents of this Plan, therefore must also take into account the guidance given by the Greater London Authority in the London Plan, and, where relevant, RPG9 Strategic Guidance for the South-East.

2.10 RPG9 (2001) seeks to set out the direction of future changes which will shape the environment, society and economy of the South East in the longer term. It focuses on “enabling urban renaissance, promoting regeneration and renewal, concentrating development in urban areas, promoting a prosperous and multi-purpose countryside and promoting a wider choice in travel options, thereby reducing the reliance on the private car” (para 3.1). It outlines a vision of:

2.11 The London Plan (February 2004) sets out strategic planning guidance for London planning authorities. The UDP has taken account of this guidance and it is reflected, where appropriate, in many of the policies of the plan. The Greater London Authority’s strategic objectives for London are:

2.12 In addition to the London Plan, The Mayor has prepared strategies on: Transport (July 2001); Biodiversity (July 2002); Air Quality (September 2002); Waste (September 2003); Energy (February 2004); Noise (March 2004); Culture; Economic Development (January 2005). Further strategies are being prepared.

Building Sustainable communities in Bromley

2.13 Planning has a key role to play in the creation of sustainable communities in Bromley. PPS1 states that sustainable communities are those that will stand the test of time, where people want to live, and which will enable people to meet their aspirations and potential. The London Plan encourages the improvement of suburban residential areas by promoting better access to centres, employment and community facilities, improving the public realm, making efficient use of space and, where appropriate, modernising or redeveloping the housing stock.

2.14 Policies in the UDP therefore collectively aim to:

High quality, resource-efficient development

2.15 PPS1 states that “good design is indivisible from good planning”. Planning authorities should plan positively for the achievement of high quality design which caters for the widest range of needs. Good design should contribute positively to making places better for people. Policies should ensure that developments are sustainable, durable and adaptable and make efficient and prudent use of natural resources. The potential of sites should be optimised and should sustain an appropriate mix of uses and support local facilities and transport networks.

2.16 The London Plan suggests that measures should be in place to ensure that future developments conserve energy, materials and other resources, reduce the impacts of noise, pollution and flooding, conserve and enhance the natural environment and promote sustainable waste behaviour.

2.17 Through its policies in the Built Environment and Environmental Resources chapters, the Council seeks to promote and support the design of sustainable buildings that fulfil their purpose whilst contributing to their local surroundings. Supplementary Planning Guidance has been prepared to support these policies. Developers are encouraged to make provision for occupants to adopt good waste behaviour and minimise the use of energy and water. In accordance with PPS22, larger developments will be expected to incorporate appropriate renewable energy generation technology.
Economic development

2.18 PPG12 states that, through the planning system, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) can help create the right conditions in which businesses can prosper and grow. This means safeguarding business uses in the longer-term, particularly those non-conforming uses which can potentially provide for local employment, and providing new opportunities for new business start-ups and small firms.

2.19 The UDP plays a significant role in shaping industrial and commercial opportunities within the Borough. The largest employment growth occurs as small companies expand and new business start-ups are created. Business policies need to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of a range of industrial premises, and that small companies are provided with a range of options.

2.20 The London Plan indicates that there should be a clear and direct interrelationship between the UDP and regeneration programmes and priorities. It also states that UDPs should facilitate the development of appropriate regeneration strategies, and should be kept up-to-date to incorporate progress on regeneration activities and partnerships.

2.21 Successful Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) schemes have been implemented in Bromley, in partnership with neighbouring Boroughs and other agencies. These have used multi-agency partnerships to implement community and economic renewal in the two most needy areas of the Borough, Crystal Palace and The Crays. It is recognised that other parts of the Borough would benefit from a similar approach. The LDA is continuing with extensive public consultation and dialogue on proposals to regenerate Crystal Palace Park and the National Sports Centre.

2.22 PPS6 outlines how a key part of making sustainable communities is the creation of vital and viable town centres. The growth and development of existing centres should be carefully planned and development should be focussed to encourage a wide range of services in a good environment which is accessible to everyone. The UDP’s policies on Town Centres and Shopping aim to support the strategic role of Bromley Town Centre and improve and develop the other town centres in the hierarchy which serve local communities. Resolving issues of transport, housing, retail and service provision and the quality of the environment are all integral to the successful and sustainable future of the town centres and their contribution to both the economy and the well-being of communities.

Protection of natural and historic environments

2.23 PPS1 states that planning policies should seek to protect and enhance the quality, character and amenity value of the countryside and urban areas as a whole. A high level of protection should be given to most valued townscapes and landscapes, wildlife habitats and natural resources. The London Plan encourages boroughs to protect and enhance their historic assets, as part of a wider agenda of urban improvement, and realise the value of open space not only for its biodiversity but also for its health benefits and recreation and leisure opportunities.

2.24 PPS9 outlines how the planning decisions of local authorities, landowners and others who influence the development and use of land should contribute to the sound stewardship of wildlife and natural features. Adequate provision for development and economic growth must go alongside ensuring effective conservation of wildlife and natural features as an important element of a clean and healthy natural environment.

2.25 Bromley is a borough with extensive areas of open space and varied natural habitats. The Green Belt alone represents over 50% of the total area of the borough. Protection of the Green Belt, with its restrictions on development, and the other open spaces such as parks and commons is a high priority and policies in the Natural Environment and Green Belt sections of the UDP aim to protect and enhance them wherever possible.

2.26 The biodiversity of the natural environment in the borough, whether private or public, urban or rural, is a key issue. The Bromley Biodiversity Action Plan outlines the priorities for protection of key species and habitats and the Council’s Countryside Management Service and Landscape Division work to actively manage these areas. UDP policies help to ensure that important local species and habitats are not overlooked during development or redevelopment and provide added protection for those of national or international significance.

2.27 Many buildings or areas of local character and significance are already afforded protection through Conservation Area status or by being identified on Local or Statutory lists. The continued identification and protection of special character along with the refurbishment of historic buildings is an important aspect in retaining Bromley’s built heritage. The UDP’s policies offer strong protection to historic buildings and buildings within Conservation Areas through specific Built Environment policies.

Development for safe, liveable communities

2.28 PPS1 states the Government’s commitment to strong, vibrant and sustainable communities. This means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, improving health and well-being and creating opportunities for all. Development plans should promote development that creates communities which can be cohesive, and should take into account the impact of development upon the fabric of communities. Appropriate housing and the accessibility of jobs, health facilities, education, leisure and community facilities all need to be addressed.

2.29 The London Plan reiterates that the provision of housing needs to be accompanied by the necessary facilities to ensure a good quality of life, together with the social infrastructure necessary for communities to operate. The spatial needs of diverse groups should be addressed and existing facilities that meet the needs of particular groups should be protected. Policies should seek measures to address shortfalls where they are identified.

2.30 The Council wishes to see new housing provision take account of everyone within the community by including affordable and supported housing. In order to achieve this, a better mix in the size, type and location of housing is required. The UDP encourages more efficient use of land and higher density development in those areas with better access to public transport, and supports the restriction of new housing development to the existing urban areas in order to protect Green Belt and open space. Policies on transport, town centre development, education, healthcare, leisure and other community facilities aim to provide the necessary infrastructure to support viable and safe communities across the borough.

Environmental and Sustainability Appraisal

2.31 In accordance with PPG12 guidance [paras 4.14-4.20], an environmental appraisal of the First Deposit Draft UDP was published in March 2001. A sustainability appraisal of the Second Deposit Draft UDP was published in September 2002.

OBJECTIVES AND INDICATORS

2.32 PPG12 [paras 2.17-2.19] calls on LPAs to monitor the effectiveness of their plan and suggests the most straightforward means of doing this is through the use of aims, objectives and targets. Best Value indicators [SI 896/2000] also place emphasis on the use of indicators and targets to monitor plan effectiveness.

2.33 Chapter 3 sets out the Council’s strategic objectives for the development and use of land. Allied to this are a number of indicators which the Council will use to monitor the implementation of the plan. These are set out in Table 2.1 below:

Table 2.1: Objectives and indicators

Chapter

UDP Strategic Objective

Indicator

Housing

Objective 2: To promote mixed and balanced communities by meeting the housing requirements of the whole community, including those in need of affordable and supported housing

Progress towards the target for 11,450 additional dwellings (Policy H1)

 

Objective 4: To seek provision of at least 3,012 additional affordable homes during the Plan period as part of the total provision of 11,450, and the affordable homes that the Council will seek to bring forward through other strategies

Progress towards the target for 3,012 affordable dwellings (Policy H2)

Transport

Objective 1: To reduce the growth in the length and number of motorised journeys especially by car, by integrating land use and transport planning decisions

No. of developments permitted which incorporate improvements to public transport or other improvements, which promote accessibility by means other than the private car

Conservation and the Built Environment

Objective 1: To protect and improve the quality of the Borough’s built environment

No. of appeals dismissed for applications refused on design ground (Policy BE1)

Natural Environment

Objective 1: To protect, promote, enhance and actively manage the natural environment, landscape and biodiversity of the Borough

No. of permissions involving planning obligations or conditions securing the creation, enhancement and management of wildlife habitats or landscape features or mitigation measures (Policy NE3 (i) & (ii))

Green Belt and Open Space

Objective 1: To protect the Green Belt (GB), Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and the Green Chain from unsuitable development, encourage greater access, and promote their use for outdoor recreation

No. and nature of applications where “very special circumstances” have been accepted for inappropriate uses in the GB & MOL (Policies G1,G2)

Recreation, Leisure and Tourism

Objective 1: To improve indoor and outdoor recreation and leisure facilities in the Borough and to locate new major indoor facilities in areas well served by public transport

Amount of playing field/open space accessible to the public lost to non-recreation development (Policy L7)

 

Objective 2: To safeguard existing tourist-related development and encourage the provision of new facilities in appropriate locations well served by public transport

Increase in hotel/guest house bed spaces (Policy L11,L12)

Business and Regeneration

Objective 1: To consolidate and improve employment opportunities for the benefit of the Borough and London as a whole and to maximise the opportunities for new small business development, particularly in areas well served by public transport

Vacancy rates in business areas (Policy EMP9)

No. of permissions for new/improved small business premises (EMP7)

Town centres and shopping

Objective 2 : To sustain and promote the vitality and viability of town centres and ensure that the range and level of facilities are appropriate to the role and function of each centre in the hierarchy.

Vacancy rates in town centres

No. of departures from the shopping policies

Community Services

Objective 1: To work in conjunction/ partnership with the relevant agencies to secure the provision of accessible, good quality facilities to meet the health, educational, faith, social service and other essential needs of the community
Objective 2: To support providers in maintaining and enhancing the availability and accessibility of the wide range of community facilities which contribute to the quality of life of the Borough's population

No. of applications safeguarding or achieving the provision of services/ facilities for the community (C1)

Environmental Resources

Objective 2: To encourage energy efficiency and promote environmentally acceptable energy generation and use

No. of permissions for developments designed to accord with the principles of energy efficiency (ER4)

Implementation

Objective 1: To deliver sustainable development and ensure that social and environmental benefits are achieved through proper use of planning obligations in regeneration and new development proposals

No. of permissions involving the successful negotiation of planning obligations (IMP1)

 

The Strategic Planning Context map (PDF, 0.33MB)

 

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