Maldon District Issues and Options Consultation


23.1 The Government is clear in national policy that the LDP Review should set out a strategic policy which makes sufficient provision of infrastructure including transport, telecommunications [including digital and broadband], security, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management and the provision of minerals and energy. It also stresses that community facilities such as health and education must also form part of the development of the future planning strategy for the District.

23.2 The LDP Review will put expectations on new developments to deliver high quality development with infrastructure to support the local community. These requirements, commonly known as S106 contributions or Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will have financial implications for development. Our policies in the LDP Review should therefore be clear so that developers do not pay too much for a piece of land then determine that they cannot afford to meet our policy requirements. All policy requirements are important but no requirement can be so high that it makes development unviable, so if one is raised, another may need to reduce. To help us set our policy requirements at a level that is viable for development to go ahead, the Council will be commissioning an update to its Viability Assessment.

23.3 In the delivery of the first five years of the current LDP, not all infrastructure has come forward at the pace envisaged. It is acknowledged that there are perceptions that there have been delays in expanding The Plume secondary school and the construction of the South Maldon Relief Road in Maldon, for example. Whilst the upgrades have not yet taken place, this is not down to the infrastructure not being planned for or S106 contributions not coming forward from development that has been constructed, rather there has been a slower than anticipated delivery of housing units in the Garden Suburbs and on other strategic allocations, which has in turn, not brought in enough S106 contributions yet to fund their delivery; but with further time and demand created when the new housing is built, triggers to release more funding from the developments will be hit.

23.4 The LDP Review will therefore be an important opportunity to consider how development in the District can best meets the needs of new and existing residents and businesses supported by necessary infrastructure. This will include considering if certain spatial options (as set out earlier in Section 9), or development phasing offer a better chance of securing the necessary infrastructure upgrades, given advantages over critical mass and how existing capacities are being managed by infrastructure commissioners or providers and how these relate to national standards or benchmarking.

23.5 There is a need for high quality digital connectivity to continue to support the District's residents, businesses, transport infrastructure and key services, such as schools and GP practices. Through work undertaken by Superfast Essex, more of the District's rural locations have access to superfast broadband, but connection in more remoter places can be limited. The Government is currently considering requiring all new build residential developments to be fitted with full fibre digital connections, which the LDP Review will support as far as possible.

23.6 Whilst the Council is the local planning authority for the District, it is not responsible for the commissioning or delivery of many of the forms of infrastructure that communities depend on. It is imperative therefore that the Council continues to work with all relevant infrastructure stakeholders, including Essex County Council to prepare an update to the Maldon District Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) to ensure all developments have the best chance of being supported by the required infrastructure that offsets its impact on the District. This will include a review of infrastructure costings and help inform how development can be sustainably phased and reflected in the LDP Review policies. The IDP should also be able to continue to be used to consider whether a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), or any future replacement would help bring in additional contributions from more developments that otherwise have an impact.

23.7 Finally, moving forward, it will also become more important for the council to chase every penny of external funding and lobby Government and other funding bodies when infrastructure delivery either falls short of expectations, or cannot be funded fully/ at all by development.

Issues and Options Consultation Questionnaire