London Southend Airport and Environs Joint Area Action Plan Preferred Options
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 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;
- Safeguard areas and places sensitive to change;
- Direct investment and form the basis for regeneration in the area; and
- Be deliverable.
The JAAP is one of a number of DPDs being prepared by both local authorities, and must be read within the context of those other plans, and national and regional planning policy and guidance. Policies within the adopted Southend-on-Sea Core Strategy and the emerging Rochford Core Strategy provide the strategic backdrop against which the JAAP proposals have been prepared, and it is important, in formulating development schemes and proposals, that account is taken of these documents, together with the policies in this plan and, as previously mentioned, appropriate national and regional planning and guidance.
1.2 The Evidence Base
The preferred options presented here follow consultation on an Issues and Options Report published in June 2008, together with a detailed 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.
1.3 Sustainability Appraisal
The JAAP has been informed and modified by the process of Sustainability Appraisal, which is intended to test out the Plan's effect on agreed sustainability objectives. The first stage in the Sustainability Appraisal process was the preparation of a Scoping Report, which identified other plans or programmes and sustainability objectives, collected baseline information, identified sustainability issues and developed a framework for assessing the sustainability of the Plan. The Scoping Report was completed in January 2008 and was subject to statutory consultation. The scoping report was followed by a Sustainability Appraisal of the Issues and Options Report, and this has been used to inform the preparation of the Preferred Options. An updated Sustainability Appraisal will accompany the final submission version of the plan in 2009.
1.4 What will the JAAP include?
The JAAP will provide the framework for the regeneration and expansion of London Southend Airport and its environs through 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; and
- Set out specific standards which will be applied to the area.
The JAAP takes 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; and
- Impact on landscape, amenity and the existing built environment, including listed buildings.
1.5 The Preferred Options Report
A key step in the process of establishing the JAAP was the preparation of an 'Issues and Options' report that provided an opportunity for all interested parties to have their say on the future development of London Southend Airport and Environs. That report set out the initial analysis and potential spatial scenarios for the development of London Southend Airport and Environs in the period to 2021 derived from the evidence base and analysis. It also set out the vision and objectives of the area, the key issues facing it and options for the future.
The feedback received from the Issues and Options Report has been carefully considered and used to prepare Preferred Options for future development in the area. The final stage in the plan preparation process will be a Submission document, which once adopted will be kept under regular review and will be revised to adapt to changing circumstances. Any future revisions of the final plan will be subject to consultation.
1.6 Policy Context for the JAAP
There exists a comprehensive framework of planning and economic guidance for policy makers to follow in relation to London Southend Airport and its surrounding area. The key feature 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 well as the important role smaller airports have to play in the future provision of airport capacity in the Region. However the White Paper does recognise that potential environmental consequences need to be considered and that there is a need to find a sustainable way forward in respect of air travel.
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 the needs of 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 policy framework 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 (adopted 2007) identifies the strategic and local importance of the airport and surrounding area, which employs a significant number 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. The Rochford Core Strategy Preferred Options document published in November 2008 includes Policy ED1, which supports the development of the airport and environs and preparation of an Area Action Plan.
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 require the provision of adequate employment land (in terms of quantity and quality) to accommodate future employment needs of the area.
1.7 Getting Your Views
Your views are needed to help us assess whether, in preparing the preferred options, we have fully considered all the issues and opportunities facing the study area and have adequately assessed the potential options for development of the area.
We invite your views on the preferred option presented in this document.
Your responses will be taken into account in the preparation of the Submission document that will be prepared in 2009.