Case Studies - What Good Local Plans Look Like

These case studies review a selection of local plans and their Inspector’s report from 2017 and provide a short commentary around key aspects of the plans.

A question we are often asked is “can you tell us what ‘good’ looks like?”

There is a reluctance to label any plan as ‘good’ both from the Inspectorate, and from local authorities themselves.

This set of case studies takes a small set of adopted local plans and asks four simple questions:

1) How does the plan make best use of land?

2) Does the plan demonstrate a clear narrative in first identifying and then tackling the issues?

3) How does the plan promote a diversity of suppliers and developers?

4) How does the plan contribute to the delivery of strategic objectives?

Each case study starts with some simple metrics; length of the plan, housing figures, number of objectives, number of representations received, before looking at the questions.

Derby City is a relatively small authority area with a limited potential supply of land. A key element of the plan was its ability to consider how to meet this challenge within the boundary, and coordinate additional development outside it.

Central Lincolnshire is the joint planning authority for the 3 local authorities of Lincoln City, North Kesteven and West Lindsey. Amazingly, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, they made a plan in two years. They didn't need a magic bullet - just a shared sense of priority and the right attitude.

Ipswich began a plan review intending to focus only on housing and employment. In the end they decided a full review would allow them to do a better job of tidying up and updating their plans, as well as being cheaper in the long run. We think the model adopted by Ipswich of cracking on and accepting a prompt review cycle is pragmatic, and while the collaboration in the region is a work in progress we are confident in their approach across the HMA.

Scarborough's Local Plan has a very clear settlement hierarchy, with the wider urban area of Scarborough town set to take over 75% of all housing. Within the Scarborough urban area is a number of distinct settlements and so choices still have to be made about the distribution of sites within it.

The Councils in Coventry and Warwickshire worked closely to reach key agreements regarding both housing and employment requirements and the redistribution of these across the sub-region. Although ultimately, the process was pivotal in the preparation of the plan (and indeed all the plans in Coventry and Warwickshire), it was not easy and a lot was learnt along the way.

Birmingham has a big story to tell. It is the UK’s ‘second city’ and has a young and diverse population. The city centre is a major attraction and it has a significant influence on the surrounding region. Read how they tackled the challenges of making the best use of land for huge housing numbers whilst looking to boost economic regeneration, including an innovative way of keeping the employment land supply up.