Proposed Submission Local Plan

1 Introduction, Context, Vision and Objectives

1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 This is the Local Plan for Central Lincolnshire. It contains planning policies and allocations for the growth and regeneration of Central Lincolnshire over the next 20 years. It has been prepared by the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (CLJSPC).

1.1.2 Within this document you will find a vision for what Central Lincolnshire could be like in 2040. There are also some objectives to explain what is trying to be achieved and policies setting out what and how much development should take place.

1.1.3 You will see that this Local Plan:

  • is underpinned by an aspiration for sustainable growth in homes, jobs, services and facilities;
  • is aiming to deliver many new homes between now and 2040;
  • is seeking to attract new businesses and jobs;
  • sets out policies to ensure development is of high quality, sustainable and meets the needs of everyone;
  • sets out policies to address challenges relating to climate change and biodiversity;
  • sets out policies to ensure all the infrastructure, such as play areas, roads, new schools and upgraded sewage disposal, are provided at the same time as the new homes; and
  • is complemented by a separate Policies Map, which sets out where development should take place.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

1.1.4 The revised NPPF was issued by Government in July 2021 and is supported by the ‘live’ Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) which was first published in March 2014 and is regularly updated. This Local Plan has been written to complement the NPPF and comply with the guidance in the PPG. Should the NPPF or PPG be revised in the future then references to the NPPF and PPG in this document should be checked against the latest version of the NPPF and PPG in force at that point in time. This Local Plan does not repeat policies in the NPPF; it builds on them when necessary and ensures locally specific issues are covered.

Previous Consultation on this Local Plan

1.1.5 The preparation of this Local Plan commenced in 2019. The first round of consultation was the Issues and Options Consultation undertaken in June and July 2019.

1.1.6 Further consultation was undertaken on a Consultation Draft Local Plan in summer 2021 where comments were invited on the first draft version of the plan.

Replacement of Previous Local Plans

1.1.7 This Local Plan replaces the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan which was adopted in April 2017.

1.2 Context for the Plan

Central Lincolnshire – a Shared Approach

1.2.1 Central Lincolnshire refers to the combined area covered by the City of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey. These three Councils have come together in a formal partnership with Lincolnshire County Council to prepare a joint Local Plan for the area.

1.2.2 Preparation of this Local Plan has been the responsibility of a Joint Committee established by Parliamentary Order in 2009. The Committee has representatives from each of the four partner Councils and has full decision-making powers on planning policy matters.

1.2.3 The responsibility for processing and decision-making on planning applications remains with the individual local authorities.

Central Lincolnshire in Context

1.2.4 Central Lincolnshire’s population lives in a range of settlements that vary greatly in size and character. Lincoln is by far the largest settlement, with a population of around 110,000 living within the main built-up area including the settlement of North Hykeham. Lincoln acts as a service centre over a wide area, including a number of villages. These villages look to Lincoln for most of their service and employment needs which effectively extends the population served by the City to around 165,000.

1.2.5 Beyond Lincoln, the main towns in the area are Gainsborough and Sleaford, serving the northern and southern parts of the area respectively. Gainsborough expanded rapidly as an industrial and engineering centre in the 19th century, with focus changing to manufacturing in the 20th century and now has a thriving manufacturing/engineering sector with a number of national and international companies with their headquarters located in the town. Comparatively, Sleaford functions as a thriving market town which has experienced rapid housing growth and an expanding population over the last two decades.

1.2.6 The rest of Central Lincolnshire is predominantly rural, and is characterised by a dispersed settlement pattern of villages plus the small towns of Market Rasen and Caistor in West Lindsey. Average population density is amongst the lowest in lowland England and most settlements do not exceed a few hundred people. Collectively, the rural area nevertheless accounts for over half of Central Lincolnshire’s total population. Functionally, the rural villages often operate as clusters that share key services, with the larger villages acting as local service centres that communities rely on for basic facilities and as social hubs.

1.2.7 Central Lincolnshire has strong economic and service linkages with the surrounding areas, including Scunthorpe and Grimsby in the Humber area to the north, Doncaster to the north-west, Nottingham to the west, and the smaller nearby service centres including Grantham, Newark and Louth.

1.2.8 The area has experienced high levels of housing development over recent decades. Lincoln is a nationally recognised historic city and the quality of the historic core has been a constant beneficial legacy for the city even in times of economic decline. Gainsborough and parts of Lincoln have undergone major recent regeneration and change to tackle physical decay, unemployment and social problems linked to economic restructuring and the closure of traditional engineering industries in the late 1970s and 1980s. The past two decades have seen notable renaissance based on new investment, physical regeneration and, in Lincoln’s case, the development of the University of Lincoln. However, a range of inequalities still exist in Central Lincolnshire’s communities. Both Lincoln and Gainsborough have urban neighbourhoods that fall within the worst 10% nationally for deprivation, with problems of poor health, anti-social behaviour, crime and poor educational attainment. Pockets of deprivation also occur in the rural area, where housing affordability and access to services are key issues.

1.2.9 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues to have a strong presence and make a major contribution to Central Lincolnshire’s demographic and economy, including the active Royal Air Force (RAF) bases at Waddington, Cranwell, Digby and Scampton. Some former bases have already seen new housing and employment redevelopment. Central Lincolnshire is home to the Red Arrows, and its RAF heritage (including Lincolnshire’s historic role as the centre of Bomber Command and the neighbouring base for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in East Lindsey) supports the expansion of the area’s existing visitor economy.

1.2.10 Central Lincolnshire has a varied and contrasting natural environment including gentle chalk and limestone uplands as well as low lying vales and fenland. The Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) falls partly within Central Lincolnshire and has a distinctive landscape of rolling hills and nestling villages. However, the wider rural landscape of Central Lincolnshire, with its sweeping character and famously big skies, is a highly valued asset throughout the area and contributes greatly to its local distinctiveness and attractiveness. The escarpment of the Jurassic Lincolnshire Limestone, known locally as the Lincoln Edge, runs for the full length of Central Lincolnshire, forms a unifying topographic feature, and as a key factor in the origins and historic development of the City contributes strongly to the City’s present quality and character.

1.2.11 Outside of the urban areas, land use in Central Lincolnshire is predominantly agricultural, with intensive arable crops dominating. Soils are mostly fertile and of high quality for agriculture. Across Central Lincolnshire there are a range of natural habitats, including wetland, woodland, calcareous grassland and remnants of heathland and fen which together provide ecological networks and nodes potentially of sufficient scale to support wildlife adaptation and environmental resilience to climate change.

1.2.12 Overall, Central Lincolnshire’s biodiversity is under pressure from various factors including climate change, habitat fragmentation, development and large scale intensive agriculture. Major landscape-scale initiatives are proposed  in response to this to restore and enhance the area’s ecological networks and corridors.

1.2.13 Water is an important aspect of Central Lincolnshire’s environment. The area has a long history of land drainage and flood management, and significant areas of low-lying land are maintained for agriculture by pumped drainage. River flooding is closely controlled through embankments and washlands as part of wider management plans for the main river catchments. Conversely, Lincolnshire is already experiencing pressure on its water resources from increasing trends in consumer and commercial demand, coupled with predicted increases in the frequency and severity of drought due to climate change. Major new infrastructure to supply the Lincoln area with water abstracted from the Trent was completed in July 2014.

1.2.14 Central Lincolnshire has a rich built and cultural heritage. Lincoln itself has internationally important archaeology and an outstanding historic core centred on the medieval Cathedral, which is classed as one of only three tourist icons in the East Midlands region. More generally, the area’s towns and villages offer attractive environments where the protection and enhancement of character is an important issue.

Key Challenges

1.2.15 Central Lincolnshire faces a range of challenges, notably the need to improve social and economic conditions, including health, housing, jobs and the range and quality of facilities, whilst at the same time ensuring that the environment is improved, that efforts are made to make the region net zero carbon and to ensure that growth does not erode the area’s environmental and heritage assets or exacerbate pressure on natural resources.

1.3 Strategic Priorities for Development and Use of Land in Central Lincolnshire

1.3.1 The strategic priorities for the development and use of land in the Central Lincolnshire Area (for the purpose of section 19(1B) of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) are:

NPPF Strategic Priorities

Local Planning Authority Strategic Priorities

Key Policies to Address Priorities

Housing and Jobs

To facilitate the delivery in full of the homes and jobs identified as being needed in Central Lincolnshire.

To deliver a balanced mix of tenures, types and sizes of new homes, including affordable homes of a type and tenure which meet identified needs.

To continue to drive economic growth across Central Lincolnshire.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 42, 43, 44, 68, 69, 70, 71, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84

Retail

Lincoln City Centre to continue to provide the primary destination for shopping and leisure for the area.

Gainsborough, Sleaford and the Market Towns will continue to provide a local destination for the surrounding local areas.

35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41

Infrastructure

Ensure necessary infrastructure is in place to support planned growth, secured through the most appropriate methods and update the Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).

45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 84

Health and Community

To provide safe and healthy environments, reduce health inequalities and help everyone live healthy lifestyles.

54

The Historic, Built and Natural Environment

To conserve and where possible enhance the natural, built and historic environment through high quality design that is responsive to its surroundings creating distinctive communities that people are proud to be part of.

53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

Climate Change

To help facilitate a carbon net zero Central Lincolnshire.

To reduce and manage flood risk, improve community resilience and ensure that Central Lincolnshire adapts to climate change.

To minimise the impact of growth of Central Lincolnshire, ensuring that development is sustainable, designed to allow for active travel connectivity and high levels of energy efficiency.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 48, 53

Green Infrastructure

To increase the green infrastructure network to improve sustainable access and achieve biodiversity net gain as part of an enhanced natural environment.

51, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

1.3.2 This Local Plan sets out policies to address these priorities when taken as a whole.

1.4 Vision

1.4.1 Our Vision aim to meet the identified challenges:

The Vision for Central Lincolnshire

Central Lincolnshire will be a location of positive growth. Its city, market towns and many of its villages will see new homes built, new jobs created and improved infrastructure developed.

Our settlements, big and small, will be attractive, prosperous and welcoming places to live, set within our attractive landscape of Wolds, rolling hills and fenland.

Between 2018 and 2040, Central Lincolnshire will grow by 29,150 new homes, meeting the housing needs of all our communities.

But this growth will not be at a cost to the environment as new homes will be efficient and located in the right places to reduce travel by car, and renewable energy will be generated to heat and power our homes, moving Central Lincolnshire towards a carbon net-zero region.

Echoing the vision of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the economy of Central Lincolnshire will be diverse and resilient, and continue to make an effective contribution to the UK economy. The local economy will provide real opportunities for people to live, work, invest and visit.

Existing businesses will be encouraged to expand, whilst our agricultural land (much of it high quality) will be protected and associated businesses supported. New businesses in key industries such as agri-food, renewable technologies and the visitor economy will have located here.

Skills and education attainment will continue to improve, assisted by the growing reputation of Lincoln’s universities and colleges, helping a shift towards a higher skilled, higher paid economic base.

Growth in homes and jobs will be closely linked, with new infrastructure such as schools, roads, health facilities and open space provision planned and provided at the same time as the new buildings.

Growth will be focused at Lincoln, Sleaford and Gainsborough. But market towns and villages will not be left behind, with appropriate and sensitive development being permitted to ensure they remain sustainable, thriving local communities.

The natural and historic environments, and their assets, will be conserved and enhanced, with new development taking into account the surroundings of the area in which it would be situated. Enhancement of the natural environment and the ecosystem services it provides will create mutual benefits for the nature, people and economy of Central Lincolnshire and help to achieve the vision of this Local Plan.

Echoing the vision set out in the Lincoln Growth Strategy, Lincoln will evolve into a beautifully engineered world class historic city becoming internationally renowned for its enterprise, heritage and educational excellence, whilst demonstrating that being a competitive city does not equal compromising on people values or culture.

Through growth, current issues such as health inequalities, community deprivation, infrastructure deficit and low skills, all of which are currently found in pockets of Lincoln, Gainsborough and some rural areas, will be tackled and addressed. Growth will attract investment, businesses and new residents to the area.

Overall, Central Lincolnshire will be a prosperous and desirable place to live, work and visit.

1.5 Objecctives

1.5.1 To achieve our vision and to help prepare detailed policies in the Local Plan, we have developed a set of overarching objectives. These objectives have been used in a consistent way in both this document and the parallel Integrated Impact Assessment (incorporating Sustainability Appraisal) process.

1.5.2 Our objectives, therefore, are:

  1. Housing: To ensure that the housing stock meets the housing needs of the Central Lincolnshire area and appropriate infrastructure is provided to support sustainable communities.
  1. Health and Wellbeing: To reduce health inequalities, promote healthy lifestyles and maximise health and wellbeing.
  1. Social Equality and Community: To stimulate regeneration that maximises benefits for the most deprived areas and communities in Central Lincolnshire. To ensure equitable outcomes for all, particularly those most at risk of experiencing discrimination, poverty and social exclusion.
  1. Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure: To conserve and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity across Central Lincolnshire by delivering measurable net gain in biodiversity through development and establishing nature recovery networks through planning.

    To provide enhanced opportunities for people to access and appreciate wildlife and the natural environment whilst safeguarding protected sites.

    To protect, enhance and create and improve high quality green and blue spaces that are multifunctional; for sport, recreation, play and ecosystem services, and which form part of and are connected to the green infrastructure network, improving landscape connectivity for people and wildlife.
  1. Landscape and Townscape: To protect and enhance the rich diversity of the character and appearance of Central Lincolnshire’s landscape and townscape, maintaining and strengthening local distinctiveness and sense of place.
  1. Built and Historic Environment: To conserve and enhance the significance of buildings, sites and features of archaeological, historic or architectural and artistic interest and their settings, including both designated and non-designated heritage assets, and ensure new buildings, spaces and places are designed to a high quality.
  1. Natural Resources – Water: To protect and enhance water resources and their quality in Central Lincolnshire.
  1. Pollution: To minimise pollution (air, noise and light) and improve air quality.
  1. Natural Resources – Land Use and Soils: To protect and enhance soil and land resources and quality in Central Lincolnshire.
  1. Waste: To minimise the amount of waste generated across all sectors and increase the re-use, recycling and recovery rates of waste materials.
  1. Climate Change Effects and Energy: To minimise the effects of climate change by developing the area's renewable and low carbon energy and heat, reducing dependency on fossil fuels, minimise energy usage, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the area contributing to the achievement of a carbon net-zero Central Lincolnshire.
  1. Climate Change Adaptation and Flood Risk: To minimise vulnerability, improve community resilience and ensure Central Lincolnshire adapts to the effects of climate change, both now and in the future through careful planning and design of the built and natural environment.

    To reduce and manage the risk of flooding from all sources.
  1. Transport and Accessibility: To make efficient use of the existing transport infrastructure and seek to extend and enhance infrastructure to match local needs.

    To reduce the need to travel by car, improve accessibility to jobs and services for all and to ensure that all journeys are undertaken by the most sustainable travel modes (particularly public transport, walking and cycling).
  1. Employment: To create and improve access to high quality employment, training and learning opportunities for everyone within the Central Lincolnshire area.
  1. Local Economy: To encourage and support a competitive, diverse and stable economy and to protect and enhance Central Lincolnshire’s hierarchy of centres to meet the needs of residents and visitors.

1.5.3 The Local Plan Objectives have evolved from the review of relevant plans and programmes undertaken for the Sustainability Appraisal process. They reflect the aims and objectives of other important strategies that affect Central Lincolnshire’s future. This is to ensure that the Local Plan and other plans are as closely aligned as possible and that strategies support each other. Examples include:

  • Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership Strategic Economic Plan
  • Greater Lincolnshire Local Industrial Strategy
  • Growth Strategy for Lincoln
  • Lincolnshire Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy
  • Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
  • Corporate Plans for City of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey
  • Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan and emerging Greater Lincolnshire Nature Recovery Strategy
  • Lincolnshire Local Transport Plan and local transport strategies
  • Strategies for the achievement of zero carbon and addressing climate change
  • Joint Lincolnshire Flood Risk and Drainage Management Strategy
  • Lincolnshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan