The Local Plan for the Broads: Issues and Options Consultation

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8. Duty to Cooperate

8.1 The Duty | 8.2 How the Broads Authority meets the Duty | 8.3 Planning White Paper and Levelling Up Bill

8.1 The Duty

The Duty to Cooperate was created in the Localism Act 2011, and amends the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on Local Planning Authorities, County Councils in England and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local and Marine Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.

The Duty to Cooperate is not a duty to agree. However, Local Planning Authorities should make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination. Local Planning Authorities must demonstrate how they have complied with the duty at the independent examination of their Local Plans. If a Local Planning Authority cannot demonstrate that it has complied with the duty then the Local Plan will not be able to proceed further in examination.

The Localism Act states that relevant bodies must ‘…engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis…’.

8.2 How the Broads Authority meets the Duty

The Broads Authority meets the Duty to Cooperate in a number of ways (please note this list is not exhaustive, but gives a flavour of our activity):

  • Commissions joint evidence bases, e.g. the Norfolk Recreational Impact Study and the Norfolk Older Persons Strategy.
  • Regular officer level meetings, e.g. the Norfolk Strategic Planning Officers Group (attended by the Environment Agency), the Suffolk Planning Policy and Development Management Officers Group.
  • Quarterly meetings with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and East Suffolk District Council.
  • Production of Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework/Statement of Common Ground.
  • Quarterly Norfolk Duty to Cooperate Member Group meetings.
  • A member from each of the Authority’s constituent districts sits on the Broads Authority’s Planning Committee.
  • Individual meetings with the Planning Policy Teams of the Authority’s constituent districts.

The Authority therefore considers that it engages constructively and on an ongoing basis with relevant authorities. As the Local Plan progresses through the next stages of production, draft statements covering how the Authority has met the requirements of the Duty to Cooperate will be produced.

8.3 Planning White Paper and Levelling Up Bill

The 2020 Planning White Paper suggested that the Duty to Cooperate could be removed, “although further consideration will be given to the way in which strategic cross-boundary issues, such as major infrastructure or strategic sites, can be adequately planned for, including the scale at which plans are best prepared in areas with significant strategic challenges”. These changes are not in place yet, so we will continue to cooperate and produce the necessary statements until the requirement changes.

The removal of the Duty to Cooperate is proposed in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which includes ‘a requirement to assist’ with plan-making, replacing the current ‘Duty to Co-operate.’ This means that ‘the prescribed public bodies’ who influence the delivery and planning of infrastructure are required to be involved in the plan-making process and, according to the guidance note must do everything asked by the plan making authorities, within reason.

Question 2: Do you have any thoughts on the Authority’s approach to Duty to Cooperate?

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