London Southend Airport & Environs Joint Area Action Plan Issues & Options Paper
1.1 What is a Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP)?
The Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) is being prepared by Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in response to the challenges and opportunities offered by London Southend Airport together with an airport related employment cluster. Its preparation is in accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 which allows for the preparation of a development plan document (DPD) by two or more local authorities. Area Action Plans are new-style planning documents that are targeted at areas of significant change and conservation. They should integrate land use, transport and regeneration proposals with clear mechanisms for delivery.
The JAAP will provide the basis for coordinating the actions of a range of partners with an interest in the London Southend Airport and environs and establish planning policies until 2021. It will:
- Manage growth and change in the area by establishing development and design principles
- Ensure the protection of areas and places sensitive to change
- Direct investment and form the basis for regeneration in the area
- Be deliverable.
1.1.1 The Evidence Base
The issues and opportunities have been identified through an examination of the evidence base that has been collected to underpin the JAAP. The evidence base consists of national and regional planning policy, best practice guidance, background studies, socio-economic statistics and other published data, and consultation feedback.
1.1.2 Sustainability Appraisal
The JAAP will need to be informed and modified by the process of Sustainability Appraisal, which will test out the Plan’s effect on agreed sustainability objectives. The first stage in the Sustainability Appraisal process is the preparation of a Scoping Report. The purposes of the Scoping Report are to identify other plans or programmes and sustainability objectives, collect baseline information, identify sustainability issues and develop a suitable framework for assessing the sustainability of the Plan. The Scoping Report was completed in January 2008 and has been subject to statutory consultation. This Issues and Options document is submitted for consultation along with a supporting Sustainability Appraisal that will inform, and be part of the consultation at the Preferred Options stage.
1.2 What will the JAAP include?
The JAAP will provide the framework for the regeneration and expansion of economic growth by providing opportunities for a range of economic, social, environmental and transport benefits. It builds on policies in the Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Core Strategies and Community Strategies which provide the overarching strategic policy frameworks for the development of London Southend Airport and environs.
The JAAP will include site specific allocations and general policies for the area. It will:
- Consider land uses
- Consider the form of development
- Set out specific standards which will be applied to the area.
The JAAP will need to take into account:
- Existing and surrounding uses
- The impact of the proposals on other parts of Rochford District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council areas
- Transport links and need for improved infrastructure
- Impact on landscape, amenity and the existing built environment, including listed buildings.
1.3 The Issues & Options Report
A key step in the process of establishing the JAAP is the preparation of an ‘Issues and Options’ report that provides an opportunity for all interested parties to have their say in the future development of London Southend Airport and Environs. It sets out the initial analysis and potential spatial plans for the development of London Southend Airport and Environs in the period to 2021 that have been derived from the evidence base and analysis. It also sets out the vision and objectives of the area, the key issues facing it and options for the future.
Throughout this report a number of questions are posed that are aimed to generate feedback and discussion to help inform the preferred strategy that will shape the JAAP. The feedback received from this document will be used to develop Preferred Options for future development in the area. This is due to be adopted in 2009. Once adopted it will be kept under annual review and will be revised to adapt to changing circumstances. Any future revisions will be consulted upon in the same way as this process.
1.4 Policy Context for the JAAP
There exists a comprehensive framework of planning and economic guidance for policy makers to follow in the case of London Southend Airport and its surrounding area. The key features of these policies (both national and regional) is the adherence to similar principles, i.e. the need for development to be sustainable.
The growth of London Southend Airport is strategically aligned to the Future of Air Transport White Paper which recognises the economic benefits of the expansion in air travel. The growing pressures on airports in the South East are highlighted, as is the important role smaller airports have to play in the future provision of airport capacity in the Region. However the paper does recognise that potential environmental consequences need to be considered and there is a need to find a sustainable way forward.
At a regional level the East of England Plan highlights the important roles airports perform in their local areas and the regional economy by providing significant job opportunities. The document states the significant regional role London Southend Airport will play in meeting local and niche markets. In addition the Regional Economic Strategy identifies the airport as a key site and states that the region’s airports are important assets which act as drivers for growth and expansion and will play an important role in improving the region’s competitive strength and attractiveness as a business location and tourism destination.
The local context supports national and regional policies and recognises that the development of London Southend Airport would act as a key driver for economic development. The Southend Core Strategy presents the strategic and local importance of the airport and surrounding area which employs a significant amount of local people. Strategic Objective 11 is to secure the regeneration of London Southend Airport to enable it to reach its potential to function as a local regional airport providing for significant new employment opportunities and improved surface access subject to environmental safeguards. The Rochford Replacement Local Plan also recognises the significance of the airport site and supports its development as a regional air transport and airport maintenance facility. This will be carried through to the core strategy in due course.
Transport plans relevant for the area highlight issues of congestion and accessibility in and around the JAAP area. With expansion of the airport, these issues will need to be addressed. However, the potential benefits of the airport are also recognised. These include the regeneration and growth of London Southend Airport and its potential role during the 2012 Olympics.
Overall, the growth and vitality of the Airport are seen as important to the economic development and prosperity of Southend and Rochford. Local policies support the growth of the airport, prioritise the safeguarding of the important Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector and providing adequate employment land (in terms of quantity and quality) to accommodate future employment needs of the area.
1.5 Getting Your Views
Your views are needed to help us assess whether we have fully considered all the issues and opportunities facing the study area and have adequately assessed the potential future options for development of the area. We invite your views on:
- Vision and objectives for the London Southend Airport and Environs
- The key issues raised regarding the role of the airport, employment, transport, environment and direction of growth
- Options for development put forward.
In order to encourage discussion and consideration of the matters in this report we have presented questions throughout this report. These questions are meant to be thought provoking and there is no requirement to answer all these questions. A full list of the questions is set out in Appendix A. Your responses to these questions and any other submissions will be taken forward to the preparation of the Preferred Options Document later in 2008.