A Local Plan sets out the vision for future development in an area. Thurrock Council is currently preparing the new Local Plan which will set out how Thurrock should be developed over the next 15 years, in line with national policy and legislation.
Local Plans are used to help decide on planning applications and other planning-related decisions. In essence, they are the local guide to what can be built where, shaping infrastructure investments, and determining the future pattern of development in Thurrock.
The “call for sites” process is a request for landowners, developers, site promoters and individuals to suggest sites across Thurrock that might be suitable for future development. Since land will be needed for a wide range of uses, people are invited to propose locations that could be used for housing, economic purposes, and for local facilities and services.
The “call for sites” exercise does not determine whether a site should be allocated for development. However, it will help identify a potential pool of sites for further consideration.
Thurrock is one of three local authorities in the UK that have been selected to take part in this project, which builds in community engagement at the earliest stages of the planning process. We believe it is vital that local people have a chance to shape the future of the community before sites are allocated for development rather than afterwards.
There will continue to be opportunities for public involvement throughout the entire process which will be well-advertised. At this stage, the key opportunities are through the online survey (this can also be posted to those who may not have access to a computer) and shortly through the community workshops which will take place in summer/autumn 2021.
The Council is keen to ensure local communities are involved in planning and development at the earliest stage of the Local Plan process. Your views will make us aware of future infrastructure needs in Thurrock (covering both physical infrastructure, such as roads, and social infrastructure, such as schools, community, and health facilities) and allow you to engage in discussions on good design.
The eight areas are focused upon existing localities where there is a need and opportunity to bring forward investment which supports the aspirations of existing communities. The areas align with the ‘call for sites’ process and reflect those areas with the greatest development interest. The locations also reflect the options set out in the “Issues and Options” Consultation document, ensuring that the process is consistent.
This follows on from the first stage of Your Place, Your Voice and broadens the engagement out to the wider community. We have listened to what has previously been said and want to build on that with this process.
The charrette process is a way of bringing a wide range of people into the process of developing the Local Plan. There are several stages:
- An internal Council workshop to understand the needs and priorities of all Council services within the Local Plan.
- A community focused survey which will give us broad views and aspirations of specific local areas, following from our previous conversations though Your Place, Your Voice.
- A series of workshops with landowners who may wish to promote their sites through the Local Plan process to establish what land is available, who owns it, and the broader constraints and opportunities that exist with each one.
- A series of community workshops and online conversations to develop early stage plans for each area.
We want to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive approach rather than piecemeal development. The charrette process supports the delivery of good growth in a way which enhances the character of the areas by putting in place a proactive approach which can establish a shared vision and align this to design and planning processes.
The Thurrock Urban Area development is focused around Lakeside and Grays. The intention is to develop masterplans or development frameworks for these areas as a separate future phase of planning and placemaking. The Council will be undertaking separate community engagement programmes for these areas at a later point.
In West Horndon, future development is, in part, dependant on the outcome of the Brentwood Local Plan. Once there is clarity on this, the Council will – in partnership with Brentwood Council – develop a community engagement programme looking at the potential for a new settlement in the area.