Lancaster City Council has been consulting the local community over the summer on future planning policies and potential development sites for the Lancaster district - but now that call for views is coming to an end.
The Council says that many local residents have had their say on the implications of the draft Development Management and Land Allocations Development Plan documents at a series of exhibition events. Although those have now finished, there's still a chance for people to have their say and help shape the future of the district.
The draft Development Management Development Plan Document includes a number of policy topics which the council believes require more detail at local level than the national planning guidance provides.
The document, which has attracted comments from local people online (although it could do with a lot more, perhaps), the Duchy of Lancaster and Network Rail, is split into three parts: promoting the local economy, protecting the local environment and the creation of sustainable communities.
Within each part there are a series of policy and sub-policy areas which will provide a local planning framework that can be used in the approving or refusing of planning permissions. This will eventually replace the policies contained within the Lancaster District Local Plan, which was originally adopted in April 2004. As this document continues its preparation process through the course of 2011 and 2012, further information will be added to each policy area including criteria thresholds and standards (where required), all of which can assist in guiding future development.
The draft Land Allocations Development Plan Documents include position statements on issues ranging from the natural environment to transport, from housing to retail. These position statements set out the current issues affecting the district, the evidence base which underpins our understanding of them and what the council will seek to do about them.
The draft DPD will identify a series of 'Strategic Sites' (if they are allocated for development, they will be very important for meeting Lancaster district's development needs - particularly in relation to housing). Whilst not all these potential 'Strategic Sites' will be needed, the council does believe that some of the sites identified will be required to meet the future demand for housing, employment or retail needs.
There is also an appendix to the Land Allocations document which contains a portfolio of sites (over a specified size threshold) which have been put forward by landowners / interest parties for their future development potential. As with the list of Strategic Sites, not all the sites identified in the appendix will be needed for future development, however, some sites will be needed to meet the needs of the district as a whole, and in particular the needs of the communities within that locality.
• The consultation period ends on 16th September 2011 and until then you can still make comments on both the draft documents via the council's website - via http://lancaster-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal - or by email or by post.
All written comments that the council receives to the consultation will appear on-line. So whether people use the Consultation Portal directly, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write a letter, everything will be made available to view.
For comments that are submitted straight to the Portal these are read through prior to publication, and then they appear on the Portal a little later. The e-mails and letters received by the Council will be uploaded onto the Portal once the consultation has closed. Previous experience suggests that many comments arrive towards the end of the consultation period.
During the summer Planning Officers had discussions with many residents at exhibitions and evening meetings; including a Saturday in Lancaster's Market Square and a Saturday at the Morecambe Sandcastle Festival. These discussions were very useful in sharing views, knowledge and understanding about local issues. It is anticipated that many people who had discussions with Planning Officers will submit their views in writing; it is felt that these face-to-face discussions often help people in compiling their responses.
• You can email comments to email@example.com or by post to The Local Development Framework, Lancaster City Council, PO Box 4, Town Hall, Lancaster, LA1 1QR
• If you wish to discuss the documents in person, you could also drop into Morecambe Town Hall to talk to planning policy officers or contact them on 01524 582000