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Your new Local Development Framework

A real chance for you – the community to speak!

All District Councils are now obliged to prepare a Local Development
Framework (LDF) to replace our old local plans. This is part of the
Government’s 2004 Planning Act reform of the planning system. The LDF
will set out the policies of the district, including the location and
form of development (homes, shops, offices, etc) and for protecting the
natural and built environment.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the eastern region
represents 5,000 members, who operate businesses covering a range of
activities including agriculture, forestry, tourism and other commercial
interests. Its members not only own and manage a large proportion of
rural land, they also generate jobs, provide land and buildings for
investment and housing for local people. They participate in
environmental land management programmes to enhance the environment and
our precious landscape. The CLA is in a unique position in representing
a broad cross-section of interests within the rural economy. However, it
is vital that all members of the community join in the whole
consultation process and have their views heard. That includes you!

So, as a starter, here are some of the issues that the CLA is concerned
your LDF should take into account:

It should comply with the principles of sustainable development – based
on a balance of social, economic and environmental considerations. It
should promote rural businesses as these play a crucial role in
underpinning rural communities and services, as well as providing the
means for stewardship of the countryside.

It must not prevent organic growth in rural settlements on the grounds
that the primary means of travel is by car. It is important to permit
some organic growth in villages to avoid them becoming moribund through
a loss of young people and families. Villages have needs and it is
important that families and businesses there can grow and that provision
is made for appropriate development, including affordable housing for
the young and elderly. To be properly sustainable, villages also need a
reasonable range of facilities, for instance, shops, pubs, schools,
recreation grounds.

The CLA supports the policy to locate development, where appropriate, to
maximise the use of brown-field land and to minimise the erosion of the

Development in the countryside must not be limited to agriculture,
forestry, horticulture and outdoor recreation. Businesses of every
appropriate kind should be encouraged in rural areas. Policies must
recognise the need for economic viability and provide for
diversification of both land and buildings. It should recognise that new
land uses may arise – with opportunities for green energy or the growing
of crops for the biotech industries. With climate change so much in the
news, land-use changes must be planned for.

Planning policies need to conserve special environments and landscapes,
but must also recognise the importance of economic viability in these
areas and not unduly restrict development, but rather control design and
appearance. New affordable, energy-efficient techniques including
earth-roofed buildings can make this possible. I am currently promoting
these successfully in various places.

The policies on the provision of housing for rural workers should not be
limited to agriculture, forestry and equine businesses, as is the case
in some areas. Any businesses in rural areas which need workers
available at short notice (examples might be care homes, tourist
businesses, etc) should be able to apply for housing close to their
place of work and so also reduce travel miles.

┬ĚThe CLA is very concerned that the proposed levels of development will
create serious problems for water supplies and other services. It is
imperative that councils ensure that the supplies and facilities are
adequate before approving any additional development and that all new
development uses water-saving technology. Water is a key resource for
agriculture, which, including food processing and packaging, makes a
huge contribution to the GDP and employment of the east of England
(nearly 20%). Although much criticised for spray irrigation, agriculture
uses only about 2% of all water and much of this now comes from
winter-filled farm reservoirs. Developers must be required to build more

As part of the LDF process, the council must obtain approval for their
‘Statement of Community Involvement’ (SCI). This document must
demonstrate how the council will engage with the community during
various stages in the process of compiling the LDF. If you have not been
contacted by your council to ‘engage’ in this process get in touch with
them or your ward councillor and ask that you become a ‘voice to be
heard’. What ever your point is that you want to be heard – this is YOUR
chance – take it!

Press Release | 15 January 2006

January 15th, 2006
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