Swindon Local Plan

Swindon and Wiltshire joint spatial framework

Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council are working together on an ongoing basis and in 2017 produced the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework: Issues Paper. The intention was for the Joint Spatial Framework to guide the overall pattern of development across the wider area of the two councils, setting out a distribution of new jobs, homes and infrastructure to inform the councils’ individual local plan reviews.

Following this, the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published. This now requires local authorities to “maintain one or more statements of common ground, documenting the cross-boundary matters being addressed and progress in cooperating to address these” (paragraph 27). Planning Practice Guidance outlines what a statement of common ground should contain and explains that it should be “maintained on an on-going basis throughout the plan making process”.

A statement of common ground can identify matters that are agreed, yet to be agreed or further information that is required before matters can be agreed. It should identify those areas where cooperation is required to deliver the strategic policies of both authorities. To this extent, it will cover many of the elements previously intended to be included within the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework.

A Statement of Common Ground should, therefore, be prepared between Wiltshire and Swindon to confirm the extent of joint working between the two authorities.

This includes whether:

  • the proposed housing requirements for Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council can be accommodated within each authority’s boundaries and if not the extent of the shortfall in provision
  • the proposed employment land requirement identified in the Swindon and Wiltshire FEMAA can be accommodated within each authority’s boundaries and if not the extent of the shortfall in provision
  • there are other cross boundary strategic issues that should be addressed through joint working including infrastructure provision to support growth

The Statement of Common Ground should be subject to ongoing review. The scope of the Joint Spatial Framework will be determined by the Statement of Common Ground. It may be reduced in scope compared to that previously proposed, for example, it may only focus on employment land and infrastructure delivery.

On the dates specified, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet (20 March) and Wiltshire Council Cabinet (26 March) met to consider, in part, each revised Local Development Scheme. At each meeting endorsement was received for the preparation of a Statement of Common Ground between Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to inform the matters to be addressed in a Joint Spatial Framework.

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