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PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IN THE EAST MIDLANDS - REGIONAL GUIDANCE PUBLISHED

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A strategy to provide new homes and jobs in the main cities and towns in the East Midlands has been published by th...
A strategy to provide new homes and jobs in the main cities and towns in the East Midlands has been published by the government.

The finalised Regional Planning Guidance (RPG8) aims to deliver:

* 60% of new housing, including conversions, on previously developed (brownfield) land

* more investment and business competitiveness by developing the region's infrastructure

* a reduction in the need to travel by providing homes and jobs near to each other and promoting public transport, walking and cycling

* the protection, management and improvement of the natural and cultural resources of the region

* better quality of life in urban and rural areas

The Regional Planning Body, the East Midlands Regional Local Government Association (EMRLGA), will now work with the region's local authorities and other partners to deliver the strategy and monitor its success against new targets and indicators.

Planning minister Lord Falconer said:

'RPG8 is the tool for delivery of future development to ensure that the region's economy, infrastructure, housing and other land use, provide good places for people to live and work in.

'I am pleased that much of RPG8 carries forward what was proposed in the original draft RPG prepared by EMRLGA. And that the changes published today reflect detailed consultation with local authorities and partners.'

The main further changes are:

The criteria for assessing the suitability of land for development have been redefined to ensure that only the most sustainable sites are developed. Following national policy in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 'Housing' (PPG3), it has been made clearer that there are circumstances where a greenfield site may be more sustainable than a poorly-located brownfield site.

The target for 60% of new housing to be built on brownfield land or by conversion has been kept. RPG now clarifies that the target should only be reconsidered if evidence on the capacity of urban areas and the actual, experience of redeveloping such sites, shows it is needed.

The housing allocations have been slightly reduced to reflect the priority in government policy for reducing the number of empty homes. Fifty houses per annum have been allocated in the Peak District National Park to meet local needs.

References to the need for a comprehensive (multi modal) study of the A628 have been deleted. This does not however preclude the possibility of there being a multi modal study in the future. The principle of a bypass for Mottram-Tintwistle is supported in the RPG.

The car parking standards as set out in Appendix 2 have been amended on the advice of the EMRLGA to be in line with PPG13.

The flood risk indicative map is retained but further clarification has been added to the text, to take proper account of flood defence measures.

An executive summary has been added which describes the main features of the strategy and its expression across the region. The summary does not form part of RPG.

Notes

1. Lord Falconer, minister for planning answered a PQ about the publication of RPG8.

The text of his answer is attached.

2. RPG Process

a. The draft RPG for the East Midlands was prepared by the East Midlands Regional Local Government Association (EMRLGA), representing local authorities in the region in partnership with other stakeholders. It was published in November 1999 for consultation and a Public Examination was held in Leicester in June 2000. The independent Panel was chaired by Mr James Parke.

b. The Panel Report was published in October 2000. This provided the main basis for the Secretary of State's proposed changes to draft RPG, which were published in March 2001. The Secretary of State considered all of the comments received in response to these consultations in deciding the final content of RPG8.

3. Purpose of RPG

a. Regional Planning Guidance provides the regional framework for the plans and strategic decisions of public, private and voluntary organisations, including the preparation of local authority development plans. It sets out:

i) A broad development framework for the region up to 2021, supported by a 'key diagram' and thematic maps.

ii) Spatial objectives- those that can be expressed and taken forward in a way which clearly influences the geographical location, distribution and a scale of development activities and other strategies and programmes.

iii) Priorities for broad sectors of activity including the economy, housing, transport and communications; the environment including water, minerals and waste treatment and disposal and energy generation and use, tourism and leisure.

b. RPG also helps to inform other key regional strategies and programmes including EMDA's 'Prosperity through People'(1999) and the Regional Assembly's Integrated Regional Strategy (2000). It also provides the regional context for the preparation of local transport plans.

4. Timetable

Public Consultation of EMRLGA's draft RPG

November 1999 - February 2000

Public Examination of selected draft RPG matters held in Leicester by an Independent Panel

13-30 June 2000

Independent Panel Report published for information

October 2000

Secretary of state publishes proposed changes to the draft RPG for public consultation

March - June 2001

Secretary of state, having considered all comments, issues Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands to 2021.

In an answer to a parliamentary question from Judy Mallaber MP for Amber Valley, Lord Falconer, minister for planning said;

'The Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands (RPG8) is being published today.

The RPG sets out the spatial development strategy that encompasses proposals for the development of the region's economy, infrastructure, housing and other land uses. The guiding principle is that the main urban areas and previously developed land should be the preferred locations for most development. RPG also sets out proposals for the conservation, management and enhancement of the region's natural and cultural environment.

'I am pleased that much of the format and content of RPG8, including the vision, objectives and core strategy, carries forward much of what was proposed in the original draft RPG prepared by the East Midlands Regional Local Government Association (EMRLGA). RPG8 reflects very effective working between EMRLGA, local authorities and other stakeholders, all of whom have made valuable contributions to refine and enhance the original draft strategy. It builds on the new inclusive process for preparing RPG that the government has put in place. The RPG was prepared before our Planning Green paper proposals were announced in December. I look to the Regional Planning Body to take the strategy forward and to monitor and review it in line with the regional planning principles set out in the Green Paper.'

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