The new local plan will be the starting point for all decisions on planning applications in Southend.

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 [1].

When making a decision on a planning application, we must consider:

  • The Local Plan
  • Government policy and advice (the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance)
  • Supplementary Planning Documents: Currently our Design Guide, Planning Obligations and Streetscape Manual
  • Other relevant issues or ‘material considerations’ such as development briefs and corporate strategies, the planning history of a site, highway safety, environmental health.

The way we prepare our local plan and what it contains is carefully regulated [2]. Although there is some flexibility in how we go about it, we must prepare formal draft documents before the plan is ‘submitted’ to be examined by an independent inspector.

Local Plans must incorporate the principles of sustainable development [3] which were first adopted by the United Nations in 1992 [4]. The objectives of sustainable development have been enshrined into European and National law and lie at the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework. This provides that there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking.

In January 2016 the United Nations refined its sustainability objectives to include new areas such as climate change, economic inequality and innovation. These have been adopted as 17 interconnected ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. It will be important that the new local plan embraces these objectives.

Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic. To support the new Local Plans production, evidence base documents have and will continue to be prepared for various topics. These are referred to under each section of this report and can be viewed on the Council’s web site ( Every Local Plan must also be informed and accompanied by an appraisal which is prepared in stages as the plan progresses [5].

The new local plan will need to include a vision and objectives, spatial strategy, site allocations and designations, development management policies and a policies map.

To assist you in understanding the issues and options facing Southend, a number of more detailed Topic Papers have been prepared on specific topics, namely: housing; employment; visitor economy; town centre; transport; design, healthy living and built heritage; infrastructure, green and blue infrastructure and climate change. These are available on the council’s website and web links are provided under the relevant issues.

[1] 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 subject to their own review.

[2] Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012.

[3] Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

[4] Adopted by the United Nations as part of ‘Agenda 21’, a comprehensive plan of action to build a global partnership for sustainable development to improve human lives and protect the environment

[5] There will be a fully independent integrated impact assessment which will include Sustainability Appraisal which assesses the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the local plan proposals. In the case of Southend, the local plan must also be accompanied by a Habitats Regulation Assessment to assess the effects of the plans proposals on habitats or species on the foreshore which are designated as being of international and European importance.  It will also assess potential impacts on Health and Well Being. To view and comment on the integrated impact assessment please visit the supporting document section on local plan website.