Saturday, March 17, 2012

LBL Deptford Creekside Scoping Report

The London Borough of Lewisham have launched a consultation on a Scoping Report for Sustainability appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment of a forthcoming Deptford Creekside Supplementary Planning Document. That is a bit of a mouthful but the council are working within a statutory framework that means jargon cannot be avoided.

Basically all the planning policies for the borough form what is called the Local Development Framework (LDF). Where there are significant policies that only apply to part of a borough they are put into a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Some other SPDs deal with particular aspects of policy across a borough. English planning law, which includes transposed European directives, now requires that all new planning policy documents are subject to a Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment). The current consultation is designed to ensure that when the Deptford Creekside SPD is produced it is assessed in accordance with all relevant existing policies and directives. LB Lewisham summarize the headline consultation questions as:

1. Are there any other plans, policies or programmes that should be considered?

2. Do you have or know of any other data that should be considered in order to establish the borough baseline – the economic environmental and social factors that should be considered?

3. Do the issues identified in Task A3 cover all the significant sustainability issues relevant to Lewisham?

4. Are the sustainability objectives, indicators and targets suitable? Should there be any additional objectives, indicators or targets?

That is perfect proper and correct, but local people may wish to check that descriptions of the area are factually correct, clear and unambiguous. There is a glossary and basic explanations of the processes involved. If, after a couple of attempts to get your head round a part of the document, you still cannot figure out what is meant then it probably means that the Report can be improved. In theory you could simply be thick, but you have read this far down the page, so it is reasonable for me to presume that you are not.

Comments can be submitted by post or email, but have to be with the Council by 5.00pm on the afternoon of Friday 27th April 2012.

The aim of this rather involved process is to ensure that when LBL draft the actual Deptford Creekside Supplementary Planning Document there is a very clear set of criteria to judge it by. The process is somewhat less than exciting, but spending a few hours on this now might improve the Report and in turn improve the SPD and save a lot of time fighting an inappropriate planning application in a few years time. No policy can stop developers applying for that which is too high, too bulky or simply poorly designed, but good policies can help deter some of the chancers.

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