Now is the time for local people and businesses to have a further say on planning documents which will shape the future of the borough.
The council has already consulted on two previous drafts of its Core Strategy and is now seeking comments on the final version. Consultation starts on 2 August and runs until 13 September.
The Core Strategy sets out a vision for the development of Bury over the next 15 years. It looks at how much housing, employment and retail development Bury needs to accommodate up to 2029 and identifies broad areas of the borough where the council will look to encourage this development as well as areas where built development will be resisted.
The Core Strategy is important because the policies within it will be used to identify sites for specific uses and for making decisions on planning applications.
Among the themes are:
* High Quality, Sustainable Development
In broad terms, the Core Strategy is looking to promote ‘sustainable development’ by encouraging the re-use of previously-developed, ‘brownfield’ sites. This also involves requiring all new development to be well designed and located in areas that are accessible by walking, cycling and public transport in order to reduce the need to use a car.
* Supporting the Local Economy
The Strategy includes policies designed to boost the local economy and identifies a need for between 50 and 62 hectares of land for employment development. In seeking to attract good quality jobs into Bury, the Strategy places more emphasis on identifying good quality employment sites. This includes the identification of land at Gin Hall, off Junction 1 of the M66, where the Strategy says that employment uses will be supported if there are very special circumstances to justify the development of this land which sits in the Green Belt. Other areas where employment development will be focused include sites in and around Bury town centre, land between Dumers Lane and Bury Road in Radcliffe, at Pilsworth and in and around Prestwich town centre.
Policies aim to create thriving town centres by increasing activity during the day and in the evening by encouraging more family attractions and leisure uses such as restaurants. New retail development will be focused on existing town centres although the Strategy states that the majority of this will be in Bury and Radcliffe and that the priority will be to reduce existing shop vacancies. The increasing importance of the visitor economy to Bury and the need to keep improving attractions is also recognised.
* New Housing and Community Support
The revised Strategy includes a target of building 400 new homes each year and indicates that this will be developed largely within east Bury and Radcliffe. It sets out requirements for housing developers to provide a percentage of their new houses at an affordable price. It also includes a policy that sets out how planning applications for new gypsy and traveller sites will be dealt with.
In order to support local communities, the Strategy looks to improve access to better quality education and healthcare facilities, to improve access to good quality open spaces and sports facilities and to protect community facilities such as community centres, village shops and church halls.
* Environmental Concerns
The Strategy recognises the importance of the local environment by seeking to retain the Green Belt, protect wildlife, ecological features, important historic buildings and the character of the borough and make sure that development is not allowed in areas where there is a significant risk of flooding. The Core Strategy also seeks to promote the ‘green agenda’ by aiming to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing buildings and encourage the use of green energy.
In order to achieve its development targets, the revised Core Strategy no longer includes protection of land that sits outside the Green Belt but which is currently designated as ‘Other Protected Open Land’.
The Strategy also includes a series of Township Frameworks which draw out what the Strategy means for each of the borough’s six townships covering Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor; Bury West; Bury East; Radcliffe; Whitefield and Unsworth; and Prestwich.
Consultation on the Publication version of the Core Strategy runs from 2 August to 13 September 2013. Any comments made at this stage will be submitted to the Secretary of State and will be considered by an independent planning inspector as part of the examination of the Strategy.
From the start of the consultation (2 August), the Strategy and its supporting evidence can be viewed or downloaded at www.bury.gov.uk/corestrategy.
The documents can also be viewed at the Planning Division reception (Ground Floor, 3 Knowsley Place, Duke Street, Bury) between 8.45am and 4pm (Monday-Friday), Bury Town Hall from 8.45am to 5pm (Monday-Friday) and at selected public libraries during their normal opening hours.
Details of how to respond can be found at the web link and at the venues mentioned above.
Press release issued: 23 July 2013.