Frequently asked questions about Barnsley's Local Plan adoption

Following public consultation and examination by an Independent Planning Inspector, Barnsley's Local Plan was adopted by Full Council on 3 January 2019.

You can find answers to frequently asked questions below:

Why do we need a Local Plan?

The Local Plan considers the future use of all land within the Barnsley borough up to  2033 and sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy.

The plan is designed to provide enough land in the right places to attract more businesses into the area, while also allowing existing businesses to grow.

It supports the council’s aim to create more and better jobs, improve earnings and increase opportunities for residents. It also aims to provide better housing to meet existing and future needs, while protecting what is special about the borough.

The plan will give Barnsley Council greater control over where and what type of new developments can take place. It will also help to provide certainty for local people, developers and investors.

The plan is based on evidence from a number of studies covering a wide range of subjects and takes account of national policy.

What do we mean by ‘Soundness’?

The independent Planning Inspector that has carried out an examination of the plan has confirmed it is “sound”. This means that the council has prepared a plan that meets the development needs of the area, is based on evidence, and is capable of being implemented and follows Government guidance.

The national definition of this can be found in the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 para 35 pages 11/12

When was the Local Plan submitted for examination?

The Local Plan was submitted for examination in December 2016. The Inspector’s final report was received on Friday 14 December 2018. During that time there have been four stages of Local Plan hearings.

Have any changes been made to the Local Plan since it was submitted?

Yes, the Inspector found the Local Plan ‘sound’ subject to a number of changes being made which are called 'main modifications'. These changes are set out in an appendix to her report.

The council has also made a number of minor changes (referred to in documentation as 'Additional Changes' and 'Further Additional Changes') to the Local Plan such as: correcting spelling, grammar, spacing and updates to text.

Some of the main modifications or minor changes have resulted in changes to the Policies Map, which has also been updated.

What is the Policies Map?

The policies map is a map of the whole borough which shows the land designation and all the allocations. It links to the main document with the policies in and illustrates which policies apply.

What are the main changes that have been made to the Local Plan throughout the examination process?

The main changes are summarised by the Inspector as:

  • Decreasing the jobs target from 33,000 to 28,840 and the employment land requirement from 307 hectares to 297 hectares
  • Increasing the 2014 – 2033 housing requirement from 20,900 to 21,546 dwellings or 1,134 dwellings per year
  • Including villages in the list of locations where new development will be located
  • Deleting site RSV1 Dearne Valley Parkway Goldthorpe from the plan
  • Deleting site UB16 Bleachcroft Way for employment and changing it to housing
  • Allocating 12 more sites for housing development and identifying one extra area for safeguarded land
  • Clarifications and updates to employment, housing and mixed use site policies
  • Updating the housing trajectory to take account of additional allocations, deletions, planning permissions and completions
  • Revisions to the wording of development management policies for consistency with national guidance, positive preparation and to reflect updated evidence.

What about Brexit? Won’t that reduce housing requirements?

At this point, it is impossible to say what the impact of Brexit will be on housing numbers, as there are many factors to be considered. Once the Brexit process is finalised, we will be clearer about how housing figures might be affected. This would need to be addressed in a future review of the Local Plan.

Who will be living in the houses once they are built? Could they be filled by people from outside the area?

In this Local Plan, the council is not planning to meet the housing needs of other areas, just Barnsley. However, it is not possible to know how many existing Barnsley residents will move into the new homes.

What is a Masterplan Framework?

A masterplan framework is an in-depth way to look at a development and how it relates to its surrounding area. A Masterplan Framework is requested for all large development sites and should be done before submitting a planning application. The text in the Local Plan document at section 6 explains what these should contain and that they must be approved by the council before planning permission is granted.

When will we know more detail on layout of the developments?

The Local Plan allocates land for potential development. The detail of what will be built will come at the planning application stage when a developer suggests a scheme. Their proposal will need to include the requirements of the relevant policy in the Local Plan. The council will then consult with residents and other stakeholders on the planning application before it is decided upon. Some of the larger sites require the submission of a Masterplan Framework, which will then be consulted on. This needs to be approved before a planning decision is made.

I didn’t know anything about the Local Plan, why wasn’t I consulted?

Consultation on the Local Plan has taken place and been publicised at each stage, beginning in 2014. The council is unable to notify every person living in the borough on every consultation due to cost, however the Local Plan consultations were promoted through, local media, social media and the council’s website. If you would like to take part in future consultations please make sure you are registered for notifications and updates on the council’s website.

The Inspector is satisfied that the consultation was undertaken in accordance with the 2012 Regulations and the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) (2006) and the SCI Update (2015).

What if I have a site that I want to develop that is not allocated in the Local Plan?

Any application for development will be considered on its merits against the relevant policies in the Local Plan. Planning officers can advise whether a development given its location etc. is likely to be considered acceptable. This is usually through pre-application discussions for which there is a charge. If you are advised that a planning application is unlikely to be successful then you can consider putting your site forward as a potential site allocation through Local Plan review. The Local Plan will be reviewed in five years.

What happens now?

Throughout the coming year the council’s attention will move to developing a series of guidance documents which will provide greater clarity on how the policies in the plan are interpreted. These will be available to review under public consultation on the council’s website.

Will the Local Plan be reviewed again?

The Local Plan will next be reviewed in five years.

How much green belt land will be built on and what effect will it have on wildlife and the environment?

Barnsley’s wildlife and environment have been considered as part of the site selection process and each site policy highlights issues related to biodiversity where relevant. The green belt boundary will see a reduction of approximately 654 ha / 2.2%. The reduction includes the removal of land for employment and housing development, green space and for safeguarded land.

How many of the new homes will be affordable / council houses?

The Local Plan affordable housing policy sets the percentages of affordable housing we will seek from each development - over 15 dwellings.

The Inspector’s report states “the council is taking proactive steps to secure the delivery of affordable homes through a number of initiatives including direct delivery using the Homes England Grant, its own direct delivery arm Met Barnsley, and partnership working with registered providers”.

How will Barnsley’s infrastructure support this?

Infrastructure issues have been considered throughout the Local Plan process through the site selection methodology, and in the evidence base of the Local Plan. The evidence base, including the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and transport modelling, have been rigorously examined by the Independent Planning Inspector who considers the Local Plan to be sound. These documents can be found in the Local Plan Examination library.