Proposed Revisions to Draft Local Plan (Preferred Options)

Comment ID 1233
Document Section 1. Preferred Options Revisions Section 9 - New Implementation Policy New Implementation Policy View all on this section
Respondent Samantha Powell - Education Fu… View all by this respondent
Response Date 17 Mar 2017
What is the nature of this representation?
  • Observation

Thank you for seeking the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) views on the above document; we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the development of planning policy at the local level.

The EFA was established in 2012 in order to help the government achieve its schools objectives by delivering effective capital programmes that improve the condition of existing buildings and support the creation of new places for pupils and learners. We manage £54 billion of funding a year to support all state-provided education for 8 million children aged 3 to 16, and 1.6 million young people aged 16 to 19.

The EFA aims to work closely with local authority education departments and planning authorities to meet the demand for new school places and new schools. As such, we would like to offer the following comments in response to the proposals outlined in the above consultation document:

Infrastructure Policies

The EFA welcomes reference within the plan to support the development of appropriate social and community infrastructure. You will have no doubt taken account of  key national policies in this repect but it would be helpful if they were explicitly referenced within the document.  In particular:

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advises that local planning authorities (LPAs) should take a proactive, positive and collaborative approach to ensuring that a sufficient choice of school places is available to meet the needs of communities and that LPAs should give great weight to the need to create, expand or alter schools to widen choice in education (para 72).

The EFA supports the principle of Thanet safeguarding land for the provision of new schools to meet government planning policy objectives as set out in paragraph 72 of the NPPF. When new schools are developed, local authorities should also seek to safeguard land for any future expansion of new schools where demand indicates this might be necessary.

Thanet should also have regard to the Joint Policy Statement from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Education on ‘Planning for Schools Development’[1] (2011) which sets out the Government’s commitment to support the development of state-funded schools and their delivery through the planning system.

Thanet Local Plan Proposed revisions and provision of schools

The EFA welcomes the support within the emerging Local Plan to schools as necessary infrastructure required to help deliver sustainable growth in the borough. The EFA note the revisions to the Local Plan include a housing target of up to 17,140 new homes to meet objectively assessed need, which will place additional pressure on social infrastructure such as education facilities.

In light of the above, the EFA encourages local authorities to work closely with us during all stages of planning policy development to help guide the development of new school infrastructure and to meet the predicted demand for primary and secondary school places. In line with the Duty to Cooperate, please add the EFA to your list of relevant organisations with which you engage in preparation of the plan.

In this respect, the EFA commends, for example, the approach taken by the London Borough of Ealing in producing a Planning for Schools Development Plan Document (DPD)[2]. The DPD provides policy direction and establishes the Council’s approach to providing primary and secondary school places and helps to identify sites which may be suitable for providing them, whether by extension to existing schools or on new sites.  The DPD includes site allocations as well as policies to safeguard the sites and assist implementation, and was adopted in May 2016 as part of the Local Plan. This DPD may provide useful guidance with respect to securing site allocations for schools in your emerging DPD, as well as providing example policies to aid their delivery through your Development Management policies.




Developer Contributions and CIL

There is a need to ensure that education contributions made by developers are sufficient to cover the increase in demand for school places that are likely to be generated by major developments in the borough. The EFA notes that Thanet may be developing CIL alongside the Local Plan. The EFA supports the approach of funding new community facilities, including schools, through CIL in addition to ensuring appropriate developer contributions are secured through s106 agreements. 

The EFA would be particularly interested in responding to any assessment of infrastructure requirements, CIL draft preliminary charging schedule and the draft Regulation 123 list. As such, please add me to your consultation database as the EFA contact for both Local Plan (including for the emerging development brief and masterplan on site SP05 former Manston Airport site) and CIL consultations.

Finally, I hope the above comments are helpful in shaping Thanet’s Local Plan, with particular regard the provision of land for new schools. Please advise the EFA of any proposed changes to Local Plan policies, supporting text, site allocations or evidence base arising from these comments.

Officer's Response Not yet available.
Proposed Change