THE council has set out its ‘clear and sustainable’ vision for the conurbation in a draft local plan.

BCP Council’s new document sets out an ‘ambitious’ strategy for developing the area until 2039.

Developed in consultation with communities, the draft local plan identifies sites for 24,000 new homes and 80 hectares of employment land, along with detailed planning policies which will guide future development.  

It also includes 33 individual ward policies, which councillors have each had the opportunity to help shape, identifying more detailed and focused opportunities in each area.  

Councillor Vikki Slade, leader of BCP Council, said: “This local plan provides a clear and sustainable vision for our area, whilst recognising, valuing and protecting the heritage and past of all three towns.  

“Bringing forward a new local plan for the BCP area is a significant milestone and, once adopted, will provide clarity and consistency to our planning approach.

“I’m proud that this strategy fully supports the council’s climate and ecological emergency declaration, by ensuring that sustainability is the golden thread throughout this local plan.

“It ensures a responsible approach to all new development, which protects the green belt and mitigates any environmental impact.”

Councillor Margaret Phipps, lead member for local plan delivery, said: “Preparing a local plan takes time due to the amount of evidence and consideration needed around all sites identified. It is vital our local plan stands the test of time and I’m confident that this will.  

“We recognise that some sites identified for new development may generate discussion. Central Government requires all local councils to allocate sites for housing, employment and infrastructure in their Local Plan.  

“All sites identified in this draft Local Plan have been selected because we believe they are the most suitable and sustainable options.

Data and evidence, along with the results of the local plan issues and options consultation undertaken in 2022, are the key factors we’ve considered when allocating sites for development.”   

BCP Council’s overview and scrutiny committee will consider the review of the draft local plan on December 4, followed by further cabinet consideration on Wednesday, December 13.

Subject to agreement, it will then go out to public consultation in January 2024.   Once adopted, the BCP local plan will replace the three local plans currently serving the BCP area.