West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Preferred Options

Preferred Options Duty to Cooperate 2022

1. Introduction

1.1. The duty to cooperate became a requirement in the Localism Act 2011, which amended the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on local planning authorities to engage constructively and work with neighbouring authorities and other prescribed public sector bodies to address cross boundary, strategic planning matters as part of preparing their local plan.

1.2. The duty to cooperate also covers a number of public bodies in addition to local authorities. These prescribed bodies are defined in part 2 of The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (legislation.gov.uk).

  • The Environment Agency
  • The Historic Buildings & Monuments Commission for England (known as Historic England)
  • Natural England
  • The Mayor of London
  • The Civil Aviation Authority
  • The Homes and Communities Agency
  • Each Primary Care Trust established under section 18 of the National Health Service Act 2006(2) or continued in existence by virtue of that section
  • The Office of Rail Regulation
  • Transport for London
  • Each Integrated Transport Authority
  • Each Highways Authority within the meaning of section 1 of the Highways Act 1980(6)
  • The Marine Management Organisation

1.3. The context of West Suffolk is covered in detail in the next section, however given West Suffolk’s location, engagement is not required with the Mayor of London, Transport for London or Marine Management Organisation.

1.4. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2021 sets out further guidance and details which local planning authorities will be required to consider under the duty to cooperate, in paragraphs 24-27.

1.5. Paragraph 25 of the NPPF states that local planning authorities ‘should collaborate to identify the relevant strategic matters which they need to address in their plans. They should also engage with their local communities and relevant bodies including Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Nature Partnerships, the Marine Management Organisation, county councils, infrastructure providers, elected Mayors and combined authorities (in cases where Mayors or combined authorities do not have plan-making powers).’

1.6. Local enterprise partnerships and local nature partnerships are not subject to the requirements of the duty. However, local planning authorities and the public bodies that are subject to the duty must cooperate with local enterprise partnerships and local nature partnerships and have regard to their activities when they are preparing their local plans, so long as those activities are relevant to local plan making. Those bodies relevant to West Suffolk are:

  • New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Great Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Wild Anglia Norfolk and Suffolk Nature Partnership.

1.7. The changes to the NPPF and National Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) regarding the duty to cooperate, also included the requirement for councils to prepare statements of common ground (SOCG). The SOCG is to be a written evidence base document demonstrating that a local planning authority has complied with the duty to cooperate throughout their local plan process.

National Planning Policy Framework Strategic Priorities

1.8. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out in paragraph 20 what strategic policies should make provision for. "Strategic policies should set out an overall strategy for the pattern, scale and design quality of places, and make sufficient provision for:

a) housing (including affordable housing), employment, retail, leisure and other commercial development;

b) infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, security, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, and the provision of minerals and energy (including heat);

c) community facilities (such as health, education and cultural infrastructure); and

d) conservation and enhancement of the natural, built and historic environment, including landscapes and green infrastructure, and planning measures to address climate change mitigation and adaptation."

1.9. The above list is not inclusive and local authorities will need to address all the relevant strategic priorities for their area and any relevant cross boundary issues.