Issues and Options FAQ

Q. What is the consultation about?

A. The Issues and Options report identifies 12 overarching issues, each containing a number of questions to generate response. We would like to hear your views on these and any other issues that you think the town needs to address.

It is important to tell us what you think works well in Southend and its different places, and what you like, as well as what you think we could change. You do not need to respond to all of the suggested issues. Focus on what interests you, or tell us what you feel needs changing, or should stay the same.

Q. Why are you consulting people now?

A. We are seeking people’s views on what should be in our Local Plan. The ‘Issues and Options’ Report is the first of three stages of public consultation as the Local Plan is developed and refined in light of comments received.

Q. What is a Local Plan?

A. A local plan is produced by the local planning authority – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council - in consultation with local people and other organisations. It will identify land for housing, jobs, local services and supporting infrastructure to meet the needs of the borough over the next 20 years. It will set out planning policies to manage new development in a manner that protects and enhances our natural and historic environment while meeting Southend’s aspirations for the future of the town.

It will be an important document for the borough and will have a major influence on how the local area will develop and change in the future. It is also the document which all planning applications will be assessed against.

Therefore, once adopted, the Local Plan will ensure that the right development happens in the right place at the right time, benefitting communities, environment and the economy.

Q. Why does Southend need a Local Plan?

A. The government has changed the way we plan for growth since the current planning framework for the borough was produced and adopted. Therefore Southend will need to create a new plan assessing the needs of the Borough and will need to plan for the ways it will meet those needs.

Having an up-to-date local plan in place is also essential for making successful infrastructure bids, particularly for transport and access improvements and improvements to public spaces.

Q. What if Southend does not produce a new Local Plan?

A. The government could decide to intervene and have a Local Plan prepared for the Council, limiting local involvement and decision-making as well as incurring extra expense.

The government has also introduced a number of tests relating to housing delivery and supply. If a new Local Plan is not prepared in a timely manner, existing policies relating to housing will likely not be applicable. This increases the risk of planning consents being granted by appeal and development occurring in more random locations.

Q. What will happen to the existing Planning Policies?

A. The council currently has a suite of documents consisting of:

  • Core strategy 2007

  • Development Management Plan 2015

  • Southend Central Area Action Plan 2018

  • London Southend Airport Joint Area Action Plan 2014

  • Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan 2017

The new Local Plan will run for 20 years and will ensure that planning policies are as up-to-date as possible. Therefore, the new Local Plan will replace three current plans: the Core Strategy; the Development Management Document; and the Southend Central Area Action Plan with a single document. However, some policies could be carried over from these older plans, especially the Southend Central Area Action Plan, was adopted in 2018.

The London Southend Airport and Environs Joint Area Action Plan (prepared jointly with Rochford District Council) and the Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan (prepared jointly with Essex County Council) will be reviewed as they are cross-border documents.

Q. How does the Local Plan relate to Southend 2050?

A. The Southend New Local Plan will play a key role in delivering the Southend 2050 shared ambition and contributes towards a number of relevant 2050 themes and outcomes.

You may have already made comments on the ‘Southend 2050 Vision’. However, it is important that you also make comments on the new Local Plan for Southend. Whilst the vision is a starting point in gathering people’s views, the Local Plan has to make choices in the way the limited land and other resources are developed and used and to balance these with other community needs and protecting the local environment.

Q. How does the Local Plan relate to the South Essex Joint Strategic Plan?

A. The Joint Strategic Plan will provide the overall framework for the preparation of more detailed local plans for each of the South Essex Local Authority areas, including the Southend New Local Plan.

It will provide the planning policies which cover the whole of South Essex as well as identifying broad strategic growth locations. It will sit above the Southend Local Plan and will contain policies which cover issues affecting Southend but which also cross the borough boundary.

Q. How does the Local Plan relate to the emerging Southend Access, Parking and Transport Strategy?

A. As the Local Plan is prepared it will be both informed - and will inform - other strategies and initiatives, including the preparation of a Southend Access, Parking and Transport Strategy.

Q. Is there a glossary to help me understand the terms used?

A. No, however, extra care has been taken not to use acronyms and to write in plain English. If something is not clear please contact us (see details below)

Q. How do I get involved and how can I find out more?

A. The Issues and Options document is available online for you to read and comment on. Hard copies will be available at each of the Council’s libraries and Civic Centre for reference, and further copies can be made available upon request. We will be holding workshops and drop-in sessions which you are more than welcome to come along to for more information and to have your say on the future of the Borough. These drop-in workshops will be at the following venues on the following dates:

  • The Forum, Southend Town Centre – Saturday 23rd February 2019 from 09:30 to 17:00

  • Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, Thorpe Bay Gardens – Wednesday 27th February 2019 13:00 to 18:00

  • Leigh Community Centre, Elm Road – Wednesday 13th March 2019 from 15:00 to 20:00

Q. How long is the consultation for?

A. The consultation period will run from Tuesday 5 February 2019 to Tuesday 2 April 2019.

Q. I have a question about the consultation, how do I contact you?

A. If your question is not answered in this FAQ or our Issues and Options document, we are contactable in the following ways:

  • Online at: localplan.southend.gov.uk

  • By email to: planningpolicy@southend.gov.uk

  • By post to: Business Intelligence Officer, Performance & Business Support, Department for Place, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, PO Box 6, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, SS2 6ER

Q. Will my comment be made public?

A. By law, we are required to make the comments we receive about the Local Plan available for all to see, including your name. No other personal information will be published. This meets the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations 2018.

Q. Can I remain anonymous?

A. We cannot accept any comments marked private or confidential.

Q. I don’t use the internet, how can I respond to the consultation?

A. Whilst we prefer comments to be made on our online consultation portal, we will also accept paper responses. If you wish to do this, please request a paper copy of the questions and we can send you one for you to write your answers on and post them back to us. Alternatively, please come along to one of our drop-in sessions.

Q. What happens next?

A. The consultation responses we receive at this stage will be analysed and used to inform the preparation of a number of preferred options for Southend. This will then be subject to further consultation likely to be towards the end of 2019.

Q: If I respond once do I need to comment on subsequent consultations?

A. While your comments will be retained, if any changes are made to the Plan or you wish to make additional observations, it is worth considering if you wish to make comments at subsequent stage of plan preparation.

Q. How were the HELAA sites identified and chosen?

A. The HELAA stands for the Housing and Employment Land Availability assessment. This is an assessment of available land in the borough and is a non-technical assessment looking at which sites are actually and potentially available for development in the future. These are all the sites put forward by landowners, agents, developers and businesses. These identified sites will be subject to further study and assessment to determine whether they should be allocated for a particular purpose within the Local Plan. Just because a site is identified in the HELAA doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be put forward for development.

Q. Have the sites been individually assessed for their suitability?

A. No, the sites have been assessed by simply looking at their physical suitability and will be narrowed down further, taking into account the constraints of the policy and protections placed on a site before any final decisions are made.

Q. When will there be a list of recommended sites?

A. The final list will be part of the preferred options consultation due to take place towards the end of 2019.

Q. How will existing infrastructure and services cope and what new infrastructure will be provided to support the growth?

A. It is recognised that services such as schools and doctors are stretched in some locations and that utilities need to be improved in various places. We are working closely with colleagues responsible for schools, parks, roads, etc within the council as well as with external parties, such as the utility providers and the NHS to try to ensure that infrastructure needs are adequately planned for.

An Infrastructure Delivery Plan will be updated as the Local Plan progresses, setting out what infrastructure is needed to support the growth targets within the plan. Wherever possible development will be timed to reflect the capacity of the existing infrastructure.

All new developments in the borough must contribute to the delivery of appropriate infrastructure, whether directly or through financial contributions. The council will ensure adequate and appropriate infrastructure is in place to accommodate growth in the borough.

Q. What is a sustainability appraisal?

A. A Sustainability Appraisal is a required document, which sits alongside the Local Plan and seeks to ensure that all areas of the proposed plan are assessed against a range of social, economic and environmental objectives. This work is being undertaken independently and will impact on each stage of Plan’s preparation. Carefully considering these three objectives will enable us to deliver sustainable planning policies. The sustainability appraisal is also open to consultation at the same time as the Local Plan.

Q: Why does the Plan take so long to produce?

  1. We are required by law to ensure that the Plan goes through defined consultation stages and also that specific evidence is commissioned and completed.

Q. After the Plan is finally approved, will it remain untouched until 2038?

A. A Local Plan must be reviewed at least every five years after it is adopted. This ensures that its policies still reflect national guidance. The Plan may not need change or only a partial review. Any significant change would need new public consultation.