Lancaster City Council has adopted its new Local Plan, a comprehensive planning framework that ‘ensures that the needs of current and future generations are met in a sustainable and appropriate manner.’
The Plan sets out how and where economic growth can be achieved and identifies where land and premises need to be protected, whether this is for its environment, economic or social value.
The culmination of eight years’ work, the plan allocates land for new housing and employment, while also serving as a check on inappropriate development that is not in accordance with the policies it sets out.
At the same time as approving its adoption, councillors also agreed the timetable for a targeted review into the provisions it contains on climate change to ensure it meets commitments to tackle the Climate Emergency.
Like many local authorities the city council declared a Climate Emergency in January 2019. Among other measures, this commits the council to making its services net-zero carbon by 2030.
While the adopted Local Plan does address climate change, the declaration came too late to fully influence the policies it contains.
Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for planning policy, explained: “The Local Plan sets out a strong vision for the future, ensuring that development proposals meet the needs of the district and that critical elements, such as new infrastructure, come forward in the right place at the right time.
“While the plan takes account of the challenge of climate change, as it is required to do, we need to ensure that this concern is front and centre and a thread that runs throughout, ensuring that the policies it contains appropriately and effectively address our stated aims in relation to the Climate Emergency.
“Having now adopted the Local Plan we have the opportunity to solely focus our efforts on how we address this vital area through the planning system.”
A consultation to ask for people’s views on what further measures to tackle climate change need to be introduced is currently scheduled to take place over an eight-week period starting in late September.
More information on how to get involved will be posted on the council’s website and social media channels nearer the time.
The consultation will focus solely on how the Local Plan’s policies addresses climate change and not revisit housing and employment land allocations.
The new Local Plan establishes how much development will take place in the whole of the district, Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham, Carnforth and the rural areas, and which areas should be protected from development.
Proposals to allocate land for new homes and a recreational hub on greenbelt land to the south of Windermere Road in Carnforth have been removed from the plan.
The inspector did not consider that there was sufficient justification to allow the release of this particular greenbelt site.
He also had concerns about allowing housing development near the working quarry and asphalt plant at Back Lane (to the east of the M6), due to the potential presence of further mineral reserves, such as limestone.
The land will instead be retained as greenbelt.
The plan can be viewed here