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Decision details

Sheffield Plan Issues and Options Document

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Transport and Development

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The report seeks approval for publication of the Sheffield Plan Issues and Options document as a basis for seeking public views on what matters should be addressed in Sheffield’s new local plan.  It will also seek approval for the public consultation arrangements and ask for delegated powers to be given to the Interim Head of Planning to approve associated background documents.


That the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development:-


(a)  approves the Sheffield Plan Issues and Options document for the purposes of public consultation;


(b)  approves the arrangements for undertaking public consultation; and


(c)  gives delegated power to the Head of Planning to approve, in consultation with the Cabinet Member, all necessary background papers and technical notes associated with the Issues and Options document (all of which are to be published at the start of the public consultation period).


Reasons for the decision:

Once adopted, the new Sheffield Plan will make a major contribution to the future development of the city and will guide development over the next 15-20 years.  It will play an important role in helping to create a fair, inclusive and sustainable city and will help the city to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.


The document that is the subject of the report (the Issues and Options document) is the first step towards producing a new local plan for the city.  A Publication Draft Sheffield Plan will be published in summer 2021 and will take account of the comments made on the Issues and Options document.  The Publication Draft will represent the Council’s firm proposals but there will be a further opportunity for the public to comment on the soundness of the Plan before it is submitted to the Government for public examination.  The consultation needs to take place in order for the Council to meet the Government’s deadline for all local authorities to have an up to date local plan in place by 2023.


Alternative options considered:

All local planning authorities are expected to produce a local plan for their area.  The Government has stated its intention to intervene in plan-making where a local planning authority fails to produce a plan and keep it up to date.  If the Sheffield Plan is not produced, the Government could take over planning for the area or ask another local authority to prepare Sheffield’s local plan.


Under the latest National Planning Policy Framework (2019), local planning authorities will be required, as a minimum, to ensure that there is a plan in place which addresses the strategic priorities for their area (e.g. housing need).  The strategic plan can be produced by local planning authorities working together or independently, in the form of a joint or individual local plan.  They may also be produced by an elected Mayor or combined authority in the form of a spatial development framework (where plan-making powers have been conferred).  Currently, although some discussion has taken place, none of these alternative arrangements have been agreed between the authorities in the Sheffield City Region.  They could, however, provide an alternative way of planning for the city and the wider city region in the future.


The Sheffield Plan will include strategic priorities as well as local policies which allocate sites and deal with more detailed development management issues.  Local policies may also be produced in neighbourhood plans prepared by a neighbourhood planning group (a parish or town council, or a neighbourhood forum).  Currently, only a handful of neighbourhood plans are being prepared in Sheffield, but the number could rise in the future.  It’s unlikely that full coverage will be achieved across the city, meaning there will continue to be a need for local policies prepared by the City Council.


A key choice for Sheffield is whether the city should seek to meet all its own housing needs within the district or seek to accommodate some of it elsewhere in the city region.  In 2018, we wrote to all the local authorities in Sheffield City Region to ask if they were in a position to meet some of Sheffield’s housing needs.  They all stated that they were unable to do so.  However, it is worth noting here that, if they were to meet some of city’s housing needs, it is likely that additional Green Belt releases would be required in those districts.  Rotherham, Barnsley and North East Derbyshire Councils have already removed, or are proposing to remove, land from the Green Belt in order to meet their own housing needs.  Furthermore, as already noted, accommodating growth in districts elsewhere in the city region would mean people having to commute longer distances to work which, importantly, would not be a viable option for many lower income households.


As already noted in paragraphs 1.16 - 1.18 in the report, the Issues and Options document sets outs 3 broad spatial options for accommodating future housing growth.  In our opinion, the options we have put forward are appropriate based on the current evidence available on the suitability, availability and economic viability of land in the city.  One of the main purposes of the consultation is to gather additional evidence, though we will also be undertaking further work before making a recommendation to Members on preferred options.


Publication date: 30/07/2020

Date of decision: 29/07/2020

Date comes into force if not called in: 06/08/2020

Call-in deadline date: 05/08/2020

Current call-in Count: 0

Accompanying Documents: