Implementation and Monitoring


8.1 The strategy and policies of this Plan provide a framework for securing a more sustainable pattern of development in the district and, thereby, improving quality of life. However, if this is to be achieved the Plan must be effectively implemented and the impact of its policies must be monitored to measure whether they are meeting their objectives. This chapter explains what actions will be taken to put the Plan into effect and to monitor its progress.


Role of the Council and Other Agencies in Implementation

8.2 The successful implementation of the Plan will depend on the actions of a number of organisations and individuals. As the local planning authority the Council will have a major role. It will use its development control powers to grant or refuse planning permission for development and in doing so it will seek to determine proposals in accordance with the policies in the Plan unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. Relevant and reasonable conditions will be attached to permissions, where necessary, to regulate the form and use of the development.

8.3 In addition, the Council can use its own resources of finance and land to facilitate development or bring about physical improvements. Where resources allow, the Council will commit expenditure to secure specific policy objectives.

8.4 However, it has to be recognised that the Council has limited resources and can only act within its statutory powers. Many services and proposals are the responsibility of other agencies or tiers of government. Therefore, a key role for the Council will be that of an enabler, working in partnership with these agencies to co-ordinate programmes and encourage investment to meet the needs of the community and help achieve the objectives and policies of the Plan. This may be on individual projects and area-wide or issue-based strategies.

8.5 The Council already has a number of partnerships established through which it will continue to work in this way. These include the Welwyn Hatfield Area Regeneration Partnership (WHARP), through which it is developing a regeneration strategy for Hatfield, and the Welwyn Garden City Town Centre Forum, through which the town centre strategy has been devised. Other issue-based strategies already exist, listed in the Introduction to the Plan (paragraph 1.17), which have been taken into account in preparing the Plan and demonstrate how the actions of other agencies will help to implement the Plan. During the course of the Plan period, some of these strategies will need to be reviewed and new ones drawn up, as mentioned in other policies in the Plan and to satisfy the Government's requirement for Community Plans and the Structure Plan's aspiration for comprehensive settlement appraisals. In all cases, the Council will expect the Plan to provide the framework for any land use related proposals and investment decisions in these strategies and will expect other agencies' land use proposals to be led by this Plan.

Policy IM1 - Non-Land Use Strategies

The Council will, where appropriate, bring forward and work with other agencies to formulate strategies to assist in implementing the policies and proposals contained in this Plan. In all cases the Council will expect policies or proposals with land use implications in these strategies to accord with this Plan.

Planning Obligations

8.6 Private sector investment will remain the most significant means by which policies of the Plan are implemented, from small extensions through to major housing and employment developments. Some developments can result in social, environmental and infrastructure costs to the existing community, such as placing additional demands on transport services, schools, community facilities and so on. Where this is the case, government guidance in Circular 1/97 provides for the use of 'Planning Obligations', whereby a developer agrees with the local authority to contribute towards these costs. The Council considers it essential that a development provides for the infrastructure, facilities and amenities needed to support it and makes appropriate provision to mitigate any possible adverse environmental impact.

8.7 In assessing the type and scale of contribution required for a development, the Council will have regard to advice in Circular 1/97 and any subsequent guidance or legislation. This states that obligations should only be sought where they are necessary to the granting of planning permission, relevant to planning, related to the development permitted and reasonable. It also states that obligations can be provided either directly by the developer on or off site or by means of financial payment to the local authority to make the necessary provision.

8.8 The nature of any contribution or obligation will vary according to the scale and type of development proposed and will therefore need to be assessed at the time the application is made, in consultation with the relevant service providing agencies, and agreed through negotiation with the developer. However, as a general guide, the types of infrastructure or facilities for which the Council considers development should be obliged to provide include:

  1. Transport infrastructure or services, including new or improvements to existing footpaths, cycleways, roads and bus services and their associated infrastructure, to link development to surrounding areas and ensure it is accessible by all modes of travel;

  2. Affordable and special needs housing where there is a proven local need;

  3. Education facilities to meet any expected shortage in school places arising from the development;

  4. Community facilities, including buildings and play or open space, where existing provision is inadequate to provide for the new development;

  5. Environmental improvements where necessary to mitigate the impact of a development or integrate it with surrounding areas;

  6. Training, local employment and other economic development initiatives to improve local access to any employment provided by a new development.

8.9 Developers must also provide necessary infrastructure for water supplies and sewage disposal, which is covered by other legislation. Proposals for the reform of the planning obligations system were published by the DTLR in December 2001. Should this result in changes to the legislation or guidance governing planning obligations, the Council may need to bring forward alterations to this section of the Plan.

Policy IM2 - Planning Obligations

In order to satisfy the sustainability aims of the Plan and secure the proper planning of the area, development will be required to provide for the infrastructure, services and facilities which are directly related to it and necessary to the granting of planning permission. Developers will be required to provide or finance the cost of all such provision which is fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development, including:

  1. On-site facilities directly related to the proposed development in the interests of proper planning and to mitigate any possible adverse environmental impact;

  2. Off-site improvements, services and facilities necessary as a result of the development in order to avoid placing an additional burden on the existing community and to mitigate any possible adverse environmental impact arising from the development; and

  3. Affordable housing in accordance with Policy H7.

This will be implemented through planning conditions and obligations agreed between the Council and developers under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and any related or subsequent legislation.

Monitoring and Review

8.10 The policies and proposals set out in this Plan reflect the circumstances, issues and trends as at 1st April 2000. However, the Plan runs until 2011 and inevitably there will be changes over this period which will have implications for Welwyn Hatfield. These may include changes in:

  1. Environmental, economic, demographic and social trends at local, national or global levels;

  2. Local, strategic, national or European policies and legislation.

8.11 It is essential that the Council continues to monitor these factors in order to ensure that the Plan is kept up to date and responds to change and new issues.

8.12 Irrespective of any changing circumstances, it is also important the Council keeps under review the effectiveness of the Plan in achieving its aims and objectives. The Council already has systems in place to monitor changes in housing, employment and retail development and works with the County Council and other district councils to monitor ecology and landscape issues. However, the strategy and policies of the Plan set out a clear framework for securing sustainable development in the district. Therefore, the Council will seek to monitor the Plan against a series of environmental, economic and social indicators at the district level, to see whether the Plan is being effective in securing a greater level of sustainability over time. This will be done in partnership with other agencies where necessary. Monitoring will be carried out regularly, following available best practice guidance. Annual Monitoring Reports will be published to explain any progress in or changes against the trends and indicators referred to above.

8.13 Where, as a result of monitoring, new policies or guidance are required, the Council will respond through publishing supplementary planning documents or informal policy reviews. Where more fundamental changes to the Plan are required, the Council will prepare Development Plan Documents and Supplementary Planning Documents as required by the new measures in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

Policy IM3 - Monitoring and Review

The Council will monitor and review the policies in this Plan to assess their effectiveness in meeting the aims and objectives of the Plan for sustainable development and to identify any new issues for the Plan to address. Annual monitoring reports will be published indicating changes in national or strategic policy and in economic, social or environmental trends in the district against key indicators. Where necessary the Council will bring forward new policies or guidance through the preparation of Supplementary Planning Documents or informal policy reviews. Where more fundamental changes to the Plan are required, limited alterations or a full review will be carried out.

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