Sheffield blames government policy changes for five-year local plan delay

Sheffield City Council has delayed the timetable for producing its local plan by five years, attributing the move to changes in government policy.

Sheffield city centre. Image by Monika, Flickr
Sheffield city centre. Image by Monika, Flickr

Under a previous timetable, the plan was due to be adopted by September 2018.

However, a report by local plan service manager Simon Vincent to council members at the end of last month said the plan is now scheduled for adoption in 2023.

His report said: "Since the publication of that previous local development scheme, it has been necessary to take account of the government’s Housing White Paper (published January 2017) and subsequent changes to national planning policy and guidance, including revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (July 2018 and February 2019).

"Officers have also been working with members to develop a new vision for how the city could develop in the future set against the context of the updated National Planning Policy Framework."

A new issues and options consultation will be launched next year, with the intention of informing a new draft plan covering the period to 2038.

Cabinet approval and adoption by full council is proposed to take place in September 2023.

Lewis Evans, associate director at planning and development consultancy Turley said the delay presents a number of challenges for Sheffield, which most significantly includes addressing the city’s housing shortfall.

He said: "A delay until 2023 means that Sheffield’s city region now faces a void. The lack of a suitable plan for the increased housing requirement set out by the government – or the even greater number needed to support the aims of the City Region Strategic Economic Plan – could lead to an increased shortfall.

"The absence of clarity also makes it difficult for communities, planners and investors to feel confident in the council’s vision."

In September, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority announced a fresh delay in the production of a new spatial framework for the city region, with consultation on a final draft of the document pushed back by about a year.

Last month, Castle Point Borough Council in Essex finally voted to approve a draft version of its own delayed local plan, ahead of its submission for examination.

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