Over the coming decades Southend will be faced with a number of significant challenges. It will be essential that the new local plan for Southend embraces these in a positive way to bring real benefits to the town.
The formulation of sound and balanced planning policies in partnership with the local and business community will be key to achieving this. However, this will only be of value if they can be delivered in an effective, coordinated and planned way. This is particularly the case in the delivery of essential infrastructure. Implementation and resourcing of the plan is therefore critical to its success. This has to be set out in an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) to support the local plans provisions.
Most of the plans policies and proposals will be delivered by private sector developers, particularly for housing and business development, government agencies and utility companies. Implementation will primarily be in the form of planning applications for development which are required to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the adopted local plan. As part of this process, the Council in appropriate cases will seek a contribution from the developer to support the provision of facilities such as affordable housing, new roads, open space, education and health facilities. These can either be in the form of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payment or as part of Section 106 legal agreement attached to the planning permission.
The Community Infrastructure Levy is a planning charge that allows local planning authorities to raise contributions from developers from multiple sites to help pay for key infrastructure. The local planning authority must identify the schemes and total cost of infrastructure it desires to fund in its area to support its local plan provisions (Regulation 123 List) and having regard to this set out a charging schedule relating to specific types of development. A Section 106 agreement is usually used to secure contributions from the developer for on-site infrastructure needs. The total level of contributions from these sources and requirements for affordable housing should not, at local plan level, render the development needs of the Borough unviable. Providing it is viable, however, much of the uplift in land value from allocating new sites for development can contribute to paying for new infrastructure.
The Borough Council will seek further opportunities to draw in funding as a part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and as a partner of the recently formed Association of South Essex Local Authorities. The Borough Council is also able to secure funding from other government sources, including for local transport schemes as part of its Local Transport Plan capital programme.
It will be important that the Borough Council continues to work in partnership with partners across the private, public and voluntary sectors to deliver the new local plan’s provisions, particularly as public finances are likely to remain strictly controlled and in limited supply in the immediate future. Once adopted, the new local plan’s policies and proposals will also enable the Council to highlight the infrastructure needs and bid for additional resource funding opportunities that may arise from Government and regional funding initiatives.
The implementation of the Plan and its policies is measured through the Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) which is produced annually. This can lead to further analysis for Government, especially on housing delivery. The CIL schedule is also monitored annually.
If you would like to find out more on this issue copies of the Council’s Authority Monitoring Reports are available on the website