Please see below Frequently Asked Questions relating to the Knowsley Local Plan.
Updated June 2016
1. What is the Knowsley Local Plan?
Knowsley Council is producing a new development plan that will shape the growth and development of the borough up to 2028: the Knowsley Local Plan. It will identify how and where our towns will develop, providing a development focus for issues such as housing, employment, leisure and retail, whilst identifying areas for protection and enhancement of environmental or heritage value. The Plan also covers issues including transport, climate change and infrastructure provision. The Local Plan will promote, guide and manage the future development of Knowsley and make important choices about how and where new development and regeneration will take place. The Local Plan will also shape the investment plans of the Council and other public, voluntary and private sector organisations.
The Local Plan is made up of several documents – those which have been adopted so far include (in reverse chronological order):
The Local Plan Core Strategy (2016);
The Merseyside and Halton Joint Waste Local Plan (2013); and
The Saved Policies of the Knowsley Replacement Unitary Development Plan (UDP) (2006).
The Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy has now been adopted by the Council, and it sets the strategic vision for the Knowsley Local Plan. The policies in this document have replaced many of those in the UDP.
An additional document, called Local Plan: Site Allocations and Development Policies, will also now be prepared. This will identify and allocate further sites for development, as well as replacing the remaining UDP policies which are currently used to make decisions on planning applications.
Knowsley Council, like all other local authorities, is bound by statutory duties to prepare an up to date Local Plan.
2. What key challenges is the Council trying to tackle?
Evidence suggests that there is a requirement for a further 8,000 homes to be built in Knowsley up to 2028. Tackling the national shortage of new homes is also a key priority of the current and previous Governments. There is also a need to decide: how our town centres and employment areas should develop; how we should tackle high levels of deprivation; and to plan positively for the social, economic and environmental future of Knowsley. Further details of the challenges faced by Knowsley are given in the Council’s evidence base, available here.
3. What is the Local Plan Core Strategy?
The Local Plan Core Strategy is the central document in the Knowsley Local Plan. It represents a strategic plan for Knowsley for the period up to 2028. It sets out how Knowsley will develop in the future, including where new homes can be built and where new business development can take place. The Plan contains planning policies across a range of themes, including sustainable development, housing, employment, retail, green infrastructure, renewable development and design. A key policy in the Core Strategy identifies locations that have been released from the Green Belt (referred to as Sustainable Urban Extensions) to meet future development needs.
4. How has the Local Plan Core Strategy been prepared?
The Local Plan Core Strategy was prepared by Knowsley Council over several stages.
The initial “Issues and Options” stage was undertaken in 2009, and included a period of public consultation which sought views on the issues the Plan should cover, and what options are available to address these within the Plan. Drawing on the conclusions of the first stage, the second “Preferred Options” stage set out the Council’s preferred policy approach to tackling the key issues identified. A further period of public consultation was undertaken in 2011 on the Preferred Options report.
Following these stages, the Council prepared a “Proposed Submission” version of the Core Strategy. This was the Plan the Council intended to submit to Government. Prior to this submission, the Council undertook a final period of public consultation, which concluded in December 2012. Finally, the Core Strategy “Submission” version was submitted to Government in July 2013. At this stage, an “Examination in Public” into the Core Strategy was commenced.
5. How were views on previous stages of consultation taken into consideration?
The development of the Core Strategy involved several key stages of consultation. The comments received at each of these stages were used to inform subsequent stages, and ultimately the Core Strategy Submission Document. The Council has produced a Statement of Previous Consultation which explains this process and is available on the Council’s website.
6. What is the Examination in Public?
Following the submission of the Core Strategy to Government in 2013, Planning Inspector Mr Martin Pike was appointed to conduct the Examination in Public.
The purpose of the Examination was to determine whether the Inspector considered the submitted Plan to be “sound” in terms of national policy requirements, and compliant with the relevant legislation. The Examination process included public hearings conducted by the Inspector, with relevant parties invited to attend to give oral evidence on a range of matters specified by the Inspector. Observers were permitted to attend the hearing sessions. At the hearings, the Inspector considered all evidence submitted in formal representations and hearing statements, and given verbally at the hearings.
7. What happened during the Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy Examination in Public?
In November 2013, initial public hearing sessions were held by the Inspector into the Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy. The sessions were held in Huyton over a three week period and involved a range of participants, who had previously responded to the consultation on the “Proposed Submission” Core Strategy.
Following the hearing sessions in November 2013, to address points raised at the hearings and Interim Findings issued by the Inspector in January 2014, the Council set out a range of “proposed modifications” to the Plan. At the start of the Examination process, the Council had asked the Inspector to recommend any changes that he considered to be necessary to make the Plan sound.
The proposed modifications were then the subject of reconvened public hearings over two days in July 2014. Following these hearings, the Inspector issued additional Interim Findings. The Council published the proposed modifications for a period of public consultation between September and November 2014.
Following the conclusion of this public consultation, the Inspector reconvened public hearings in June 2015. These hearings were again held in Huyton and lasted for three days. These final hearings concluded the formal hearing stages of the Examination.
The receipt of the Inspector’s Report marks the formal conclusion of the Examination in Public.
Further advice regarding the Examination process is available via the Planning Portal website.
8. Is the Inspector’s Report available and what does it say?
The Local Plan Inspector's Report has now been published and is available to view in the examination section of the Council’s website and in libraries and One Stop Shops.
It represents the outcome of the independent examination of the Local Plan, which included the hearings in November 2013, July 2014 and June 2015.
The report concludes that with the recommended main modifications set out in its Appendix the Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy satisfies the legal requirements and meets the criteria for soundness in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
This report therefore concludes that with the incorporation of the various modifications the Plan provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the Borough.
9. What happened after the Council received the Inspector’s Report?
Those registered on the Council’s Local Plan database (including statutory consultees, those who have responded to previous consultations and those who have otherwise expressed an interest in the Local Plan) were notified of the publication of the Inspector’s Report.
The Inspector's Report was presented to Cabinet on 16 December 2015 and then Full Council on 6 January 2016. At the Full Council meeting a decision was taken to adopt the Plan.
10. Can I view the agenda and minutes of the Full Council meeting?
Agendas and minutes for meetings of the Council are available online here.
11. What is the lifetime of the Local Plan Core Strategy?
The Local Plan Core Strategy will be periodically reviewed, in order to ensure that it remains compliant with changes to legislation and national planning policy and responsive to local need. The document can be partially reviewed and which would involve certain policies being refreshed, or it can be completely replaced.
It is important to note than any decision to undertake a complete or partial review of the Local Plan Core Strategy would constitute a new plan and its production would therefore be subject to the same statutory process. This includes public participation at key stages of preparation, statutory assessment and Examination in Public.
In the meantime, the Authority’s Monitoring Report (AMR), published as the Local Plan Monitoring Report is published on the Council’s website annually and specifically charts the progress of the Local Plan and the success of its planning policies.
12. Does the Core Strategy still identify specific sites to be removed from the Green Belt?
The Core Strategy removes a number of sites from the Green Belt, in order to accommodate housing and employment during the plan period (i.e. up to 2028).
The Council’s original intentions were that specific boundaries of the broad Green Belt locations identified would be decided in a future Local Plan document, the Local Plan: Site Allocations and Development Policies. However, all of the 9 broad “reserve locations” have been converted into site allocations for “Sustainable Urban Extensions”, in order that they may be removed from the Green Belt and come forward for development sooner. A further location has been “safeguarded” for use after 2028. These changes were proposed to address issues raised at the public hearings in November 2013 and the concerns of the Inspector with respect to the short term housing land supply and the range of employment land locations available. The Plan includes five new policies to guide the development of these Sustainable Urban Extensions.
The Council is also producing three Supplementary Planning Documents to guide the development of the largest of these areas (see Question 16 and 17).
13. Why does the Core Strategy change the Green Belt boundary in some areas but not others?
The issue of where Green Belt boundaries should be changed was difficult for the Council to address. To inform the approach the Council produced several evidence studies, including a Green Belt study. This considered all parts of the Green Belt in Knowsley and identified areas where changes to accommodate new development may be appropriate. Approximately 100 locations were assessed individually. The full assessment process is documented in the Knowsley and Sefton Green Belt Study – Final Knowsley Report (this is available to view on the Council's website). From this report the Council identified several broad locations around the borough as being the most appropriate for new development. These were tested through consultation and a range of assessments, including Sustainability Appraisal.
Landowners and other interested parties promoted several alternative locations in response to consultation on the Plan. However, the Inspector's Report supported the Council’s conclusions about the most appropriate locations to be released from the Green Belt, and has rejected these alternatives.
14. When will Green Belt development come forward?
The immediate allocation of nine “Sustainable Urban Extensions” will enable their development sooner and will boost the short term supply of housing land, and the range and choice of locations for employment development. The Plan will ensure that land at Knowsley Village is safeguarded for potential residential development after 2028. Any allocation of the Knowsley Village site for development – even after 2028 - is subject to this being confirmed in a future Local Plan review.
The Council is currently preparing Supplementary Planning Documents to guide the development of the three largest and/or most complex Sustainable Urban Extensions, at Knowsley Lane, Huyton; East of Halewood; and South of Whiston/Land South of M62.
The Council expects that development in the Sustainable Urban Extensions could begin before 2018. The exact timing of when development may come forward within these locations is currently unknown. Before development in these locations could come forward the land would need to be subject to planning permission, meaning a planning application would need to be lodged with and approved by the Council. Any application would need to provide further information about the detail of the proposed development, including site layouts and access arrangements. This process would include statutory consultation with those directly neighbouring the development location.
15. Are there any additional important documents that I need to know about?
The Council assembled a full Examination Library of documents to support the Core Strategy. These documents include evidence base reports, appraisals, reports of consultation, and other statutory and non-statutory materials.
The Examination Library is available on the Council's website. Paper copies of Library documents can be viewed on request from the Council’s Local Plan team.
16. What are the Supplementary Planning Documents – Sustainable Urban Extensions?
The Council has started work on three further Supplementary Planning Documents to guide development of the three largest and most complex Sustainable Urban Extensions identified in the Local Plan Core Strategy at:
Public consultation on these documents is expected in early 2016.
17. What are Supplementary Planning Documents and why are they needed?
The Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy has now been adopted by the Council, and it sets the strategic vision for the Knowsley Local Plan. The policies in this document have replaced many of those in the UDP and work is now underway on a new set of documents called Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD), in order to set out, in more detail, how these policies will be delivered.
Once adopted, the SPDs will then be used as part of the planning policy framework in the determination of planning applications. The weight given to Knowsley’s SPDs is considerable, as they are prepared in consultation with the public, revised and then approved for development management purposes by the Council.
The SPDs are non-statutory planning documents prepared by the Council and are intended to provide additional information to assist with the interpretation and implementation of policies set out in the Knowsley Local Plan.
18. I have been approached by someone in my community about producing a Neighbourhood Plan. What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Localism Act (2011) and they allow local people to have more say in determining planning policy for their area.
Neighbourhood Plans are able to set out the vision for an area and the planning policies for the use and development of land. Such policies can choose where you want new homes, shops, leisure facilities or employment opportunities to be built and what these buildings should look like.
It is important to note that Neighbourhood Plans do not replace the Knowsley Local Plan and they are required to meet five basic conditions, one of which requires them to be in ‘general conformity’ with the strategic elements of the Knowsley Local Plan. Neighbourhood Plans should therefore be pro-growth documents and they cannot be used to reverse adopted local policy.
Please visit the Neighbourhood Planning section for detailed advice.
19. How can I get more information on the Local Plan?
For further information go to the Local Plan section of the Council's website or visit any of the Council’s libraries or One Stop Shops during normal opening hours.
Local Plan Team
The Local Plan team can answer your questions and respond to requests for further information regarding the Local Plan Core Strategy, or any of the other consultations. Contact details are as follows:
Telephone: 0151 443 2326
Address: Knowsley Council, Ground Floor, Yorkon Building, Archway Road, Huyton, Merseyside, L36 9FB
20. Can I get the information in different formats?
If you would like any of the information published relating to the Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy in a different format (e.g. a different language, large print), please contact the Council Customer Services on 0151 443 4031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.