As noted, key features are the need to promote and deliver sustainable development that reflects the vision and aspirations of local communities together with the need for Local Plans to be consistent with the principles and policies within the NPPF, including the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Local Plans should set out the strategic priorities for the area covering the following:-
Crucially, Local Plans should:
It is clear that many of the above elements in the plan-making process will impinge on our canals and rivers in terms of their character and use. Having regard to the time frame involved for the adoption of new Local Plans, the coming months will see the release of hundreds of planning consultation documents throughout England with policies and proposals which will potentially affect waterside environments and projects. Urgent consideration needs to be given as to how the interests of the Inland Waterways are to be safeguarded and promoted in the light of locally produced consultation documents issued by English Local Authorities as well as in the form of Neighbourhood Plans. Information needs to be disseminated and draft Plans monitored. Vigilance is therefore required and representations will need to be submitted to both promote waterway projects and interests and oppose development which is deemed harmful to the Inland Waterways.
Section 110 of The Localism Act contains a “duty to cooperate” between neighbouring plan-making authorities and this principle is carried forward into the NPPF. Clearly this is vital in relation to canal restoration projects which cross Local Authority boundaries. Presumably the same “duty to cooperate” will apply to Local Authorities with waterways which cross national boundaries such as the Llangollen and the Montgomery – although the NPPF does not apply in Wales. Where waterway projects do cross Local Authority boundaries, the involvement of IWA Branches and affiliated Societies and Trusts in the planning process will become all the more vital.