Preferred Options November 2021

Ended on the 13 December 2021

1. Introduction

What is the Local Plan?

1.1 All planning authorities have a strategic plan which provides a framework for the future planning of their area. This is known as a Local Plan and it provides the blueprint for future development in the district. South Staffordshire's current adopted Local Plan consists of two documents, which are:

  • Part 1 - Core Strategy: adopted in December 2012, this sets out the strategic vision and objectives for South Staffordshire, including the levels of development to take place, and broad locations.
  • Part 2 - Site Allocations Document (SAD): adopted in September 2018, this sets out site specific proposals and policies for the use of land to guide future development, to help to deliver the vision and objectives of the Core Strategy.

What is the Local Plan review, and why are we doing a review?

1.2 The Site Allocations Document (SAD) commits South Staffordshire to carrying out an early review of the Local Plan to respond to the increasing need for development, both within South Staffordshire and in our neighbouring authorities. Agreeing to an early review of the Local Plan was an essential requirement of the Government's Planning Inspector who examined our SAD, and was largely in response to unmet housing needs in both South Staffordshire and the wider region. Following an update of the Council's Local Development Scheme, we will look to submit a reviewed Local Plan by the end of 2022. The plan period for the new Local Plan will be 2018-2038.

1.3 The planning system has seen significant changes since the Core Strategy was adopted in 2012, with substantial amendments to national planning policy and the requirements for Local Plans. Therefore, an early review of the Local Plan is essential to respond to these Government requirements. We are reviewing the existing planning policy documents and refreshing our evidence base to inform policies and proposals in the new South Staffordshire Local Plan, which will identify the development needed in the district up until 2038. In particular, the new Local Plan will need to respond to recent updates to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and national Planning Policy Guidance (PPG). These include a new standard approach for calculating our housing need, and requirements to work together with neighbouring areas to meet their development needs, where it has been robustly demonstrated that they cannot accommodate their needs within their own areas.

The role of the new Local Plan

1.4 The new Local Plan will set out how much development is required in the district up until 2038. This will include residential (including Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople accommodation) and employment uses. The Local Plan will allocate the sites required to deliver the identified level of development needed.

1.5 The existing Local Plan (Core Strategy + SAD) looks forward to 2028 and includes a number of sites which are allocated but have not been developed yet; these allocations will continue where they are still assessed as suitable. There are also a number of Safeguarded Land sites. This is land that was removed from the Green Belt in the SAD, and earmarked for future consideration to meet some of the development needs in this Local Plan.

1.6 The new Local Plan will also set out policies which will guide the determination of planning applications (see Chapter 6). These policies are likely to cover the same issues as those in the existing Local Plan such as promoting sustainable development, protecting and providing open spaces, design quality and protecting and enhancing the natural and historic environment. However, consideration will need to be given to what changes have taken place to national policy and how we respond to these locally.

1.7 It is important that we have an up-to-date Local Plan and enough land to meet our housing requirements for a rolling 5 year timeframe. Without this, South Staffordshire will be vulnerable to speculative planning applications, resulting in a piecemeal approach to new development and potentially sites that do not relate well to existing settlements.

The Local Plan in tackling Climate Change

1.8 Climate change has been recognised internationally as the most important environmental challenge that we currently face and has a direct impact on the Council's activities and how we meet the needs of all residents in the district. The Council has declared a climate emergency and following on from this has prepared a Climate Change Strategy that sets out our commitment to local action on climate change. One of the key strands of the Council's Climate Change Strategy relates to our strategic planning responsibilities and sets out how we will use the planning system and the new Local Plan as a vehicle to encourage sustainable patterns of development, promoting cardon resilient design, and protecting the natural environment.

1.9 National planning policy is also placing much greater emphasis on the role of the planning system in tackling climate change with the latest NPPF (2021) placing climate change, and mitigating its impacts, front and centre when setting out what the presumption in favour of sustainable development means for plan making. In addition, the recently published National Model Design Guide makes it clear the use of natural features in scheme design can play a part in mitigating climate change. It is clear that the use of features such as tree lined streets can have multiple benefits, not only relating to climate change, but also improving the appearance and the ecological value of developments.

1.10 Given this, it is critical that the new Local Plan provides greater ambition and measures for mitigating and adapting to climate change than previous Local Plans. As a result, climate change measures will be a consistent thread that will run through the plan. This goes beyond the more obvious climate change policies relating to renewable energy generation and energy efficiency measures for new buildings. The overall spatial strategy in focusing greater levels of development in the larger villages and urban edge locations with greater access to facilities and public transport, thus reducing car dependency, is key to achieving sustainable development and tackling climate change. A plethora of other policies relating to open space provision, design (including a requirement for tree lined streets), parking standards (and requirement for electric vehicle charging points), sustainable transport/active travel measures, biodiversity net gain, Green Belt compensatory measures and reducing flood risk will all play their part as a package of environmentally focused policies.

Will the new Local Plan affect me?

1.11 The Local Plan will result in new development. Following on from the Issues and Options consultation in 2018 and Spatial Housing Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery consultation in 2019, this new Preferred Options consultation proposes how future development will be distributed across the district and on which sites. This is based on the evidence we have gathered to date, comments made to previous consultations, site assessments and sustainability, land that we know is available and taking on board the requirements of national planning policy and guidance.

1.12 The changes that take place may affect you in a variety of ways. You may be able to see new homes or employment development near to where you live; new facilities may be provided close to you such as new shops, schools or open spaces; new roads or cycle ways could be built to make journeys shorter or easier; and new employers may provide new job opportunities. Planning affects many aspects of our lives and it is important that we get the balance right. If you want to have a say in how much and what type of development takes place and where it goes, then this is the time to get involved.

What happens to the existing Local Plan documents?

1.13 The existing Local Plan documents date from 2012 and 2018. Some of the allocations and policies from these documents will be carried forward into the new Local Plan. Whilst the new Local Plan is being developed the existing documents will still be used as the basis for determining planning applications. Once the new Local Plan is adopted it will replace both documents in the existing Local Plan.

The plan making process

1.14 There are a number of different stages involved in the preparation of a Local Plan with the key stages outlined below:

Main Stages


Evidence Gathering

  • Identification of main planning issues for the district.
  • Development of Strategy Options
  • Call for Sites
  • SHMA
  • Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report


Issues and Options

  • Public consultation on whether the correct issues were identified and potential strategies and policies to meet different development needs
  • Additional Call for Sites
  • Initial Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Report

October 2018

Spatial Housing Strategy & Infrastructure Delivery Consultation

  • Public consultation on strategic approach to new housing development, including broad locations but not specific sites
  • SA of spatial growth options

October 2019

Preferred Options Plan


  • Public consultation on the Council's preferred options for sites and policy direction of travel
  • Draft SA Report

November 2021

Publication Plan

  • Sets out the final Local Plan for submission to the Secretary of State (SoS)/Government
  • Public consultation on legal compliance and 'soundness'
  • Final draft SA Report

Summer 2022

Submission and Examination

  • Local Plan submitted to Government (Planning Inspectorate) with all the comments received during the Publication Plan consultation
  • Independent Examination carried out in public by a Planning Inspector
  • Final SA Report




  • Council formally adopts Local Plan
  • SA Adoption Statement

Estimated Winter 2023

Monitoring and Review

  • Each year, identified targets and planning applications are monitored to assess delivery of the Local Plan


Table 1: Stages of Plan-making


Issues and Options 2018

1.15 The Issues and Options in October 2018 was the first consultation on the new Local Plan and sought views on the appropriate level of growth to plan for and high-level scoping options for where new growth could be located. Development Management policy options covering issues such as affordable housing, climate change mitigation and sustainable transport were also consulted on, with the preferred policy options covering the different policy areas set out in Chapter 6 of this document.

Spatial Housing Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery 2019

1.16 In October 2019 the Spatial Housing Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery (SHSID) consultation set out the Council's preferred spatial strategy for distributing growth. This proposed a level of housing development that would meet South Staffordshire's housing needs plus a 4000-home contribution towards to unmet needs of the wider Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area (GBHMA). The Council's preferred spatial option for distributing growth was Option G – which proposed infrastructure-led development with a garden village area of search beyond the plan period. The preferred spatial option was not site specific and sought to focus growth on large strategic sites that would deliver new and improved infrastructure, including in areas near to the source of unmet housing needs in the Black Country; as well as limited growth in smaller villages to ensure the Council's requirement for delivering 10% of homes on small sites is met. In addition, 6 reasonable alternative options for distributing growth were consulted on in the SHSID.

Preferred Options Consultation

1.17 We are currently consulting on the Preferred Options which is the third stage of public consultation, following on from the Issues and Options consultation in 2018 and the Spatial Housing Strategy and Infrastructure Delivery Consultation in 2019. This builds upon these consultations, taking on board all representations received in arriving at an amended infrastructure led strategy. This consultation sets out the proposed site allocations to meet the preferred strategy and we are seeking views on these, including what additional infrastructure sites may require, or be able to realise. It also seeks feedback on fully drafted Development Strategy and site-specific policies and sets out our direction of travel for Development Management policies, such as the percentage of affordable housing we would require on future development sites, and asks for views on these.

Making comments

1.18 We welcome your comments on our proposals. This document sets out a series of questions to guide responses. These are spread through the document in each section, although a full list of questions can be found in Appendix G.

1.19 A Glossary is included at the back of the document to provide definitions of technical terms. A Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQs) is also available on the Council's website.

1.20 Following the close of the Preferred Options consultation, all responses will be considered and summarised in general terms to inform the preparation of the Publication Plan which we will consult on in summer 2022. The Publication Plan will be the final draft plan that we consult on before submitting the plan for independent examination.

How to respond

1.21 We want as many people as possible to be involved in the preparation of the new Local Plan. The Preferred Options consultation will take place from 1 November until 5pm on 13th December 2021. All comments must be made in writing by the consultation deadline in order for us to take them into account.

1.22 The quickest and easiest way to make your comments on our proposals is via our online consultation system that will enable you to make your comments direct. You will be able to manage your account and response and see details of other responses when they are published. It's very simple, all you need is your email address to register here:

1.23 If you made comments on previous consultations and we have your email address, it will already be on the system. Just put your email address in the Login and click 'I forgot my password'. You will then be sent an email and you can set your own password and start making comments as soon as the consultation is live.

Data protection

1.24 Our legal basis for processing your ordinary personal data will be either that it is necessary to do so to perform a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us. In respect of any special data [health information etc.] processing this is necessary for the purposes of carrying out our obligations in the field of social security and social protection law.

1.25 Officers of the Strategic Planning Team and other officers within the Council may receive/process your personal data where it is appropriate to do so.

For more information about how we process this data see:


For instructions on how to use the system and make comments, please see our help guide.
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