CPRE Rutland hosted two consultation events on Zoom, around both a long-term Vision for Rutland and whether the draft Local Plan proposed by Rutland County Council is sustainable and sound.
CPRE Rutland thinks that it is vital, before making a plan, to have a Vision, which the plan should then help to achieve. That’s why CPRE Rutland is working to establish Rutland Vision 2036, so that we all know what we’re aiming for, as a County, as residents and as businesses.
CPRE Rutland’s expert consultants have looked at changes in population, environment, transport, tourism, business, farming and health, and assessed their likely impact on Rutland and the implications for any sustainable local plan.
And we have some concerns that we think need to be addressed.
Kate Hiseman, a charity stakeholder who specialises in sustainability and Neil Boughey, a local planning specialist, identified the issues which need more consideration.
- Population growth nationally seems to predict that there will be smaller households and more independent living, which will require smaller dwellings.
- Economic benefit – the current Local Plan focuses most of the housing quota in Rutland on St George’s Barracks for the next 20 years:- Oakham and Uppingham small businesses will miss out on investment and local spend.- Stamford would be the main beneficiary of St George’s because of both its proximity and range of retail and leisure.
- Transport- Train and bus routes need better connectivity, high incidence of road deaths on country lanes needs to be remedied and more bike lanes would improve life for all.- Local transport links might be unable to support the new development proposed, which would result in increased car usage.
- Environment – woodlands are found in moderate patches across Rutland, but there is very little grassland. Natural corridors could be developed through the eastern side of Rutland to encourage wildlife diversity.
- Tourism – many visitors come only for a day. More needs to be done to encourage overnight stays which would increase spend in Rutland. Eco-tourism is a possibility, which would also be a source of local employment.
- Business hubs could pull in personal brands/small businesses but the County needs a clear strategy to attract at least one more large employer.
- Farming innovation is important; this obviously also feeds into Rutland local food producers such as bakers and delicatessens.
- Health – in Rutland we have a higher incidence of diabetes, associated with an older population and some decreasing health care facilities. This must be addressed, with innovative healthcare provision.
There are other aspects of concern
- COVID-19 and its effect on the future ‘way of life’ – recent behaviour analysis may not be up to date. COVID-19 has affected life for everybody, for instance in changes in working and education practices. Has this been taken into account?
- Has innovation been given sufficient priority? Eco-housing, for example, could work from a tourist and a local perspective.
- Water supplies may struggle to support the new developments proposed. Rutland’s water supply comes from Severn Trent and Anglian Water and our waste is disposed of out of county.
It was also noted that, although the plans are complex, Rutland County Council should have consulted more effectively with the local population on the various options for housing distribution and use of the St George’s site before proceeding to the final stage of the local plan. The County Council is, however, keen that the Local Plan must now pass its final stage to avoid the prospect of ’no plan’ and the uncertainties that may bring.
Neil Boughey concluded for CPRE that “the proposed new Governmental planning regulations/white paper will take into account a well-conceived local plan”. He also advised that, to ensure good practices have been adopted, including effective public consultation, and that the plan was sound, it should be submitted through the Planning Advisory Service.
Don’t forget you now have until November 6th to leave comments on the proposed Rutland County Council Local Plan. Please find the link below should you wish to do so.
All of the presentations which were used at the Zoom event and a CPRE guide to the local planning process can be found below.
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