Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

Search Representations

Results for Canal & River Trust search

New search New search

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

7.7.10 to 7.7.11 Explanation

Representation ID: 6722

Received: 15/11/2017

Respondent: Canal & River Trust

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

References to the Canal & River Trust's Destination Management Plan are not appropriate as this document has not been made publicly available; this document does not provide a definitive strategy for managing the Foxton Locks area and may well change during the life of the Local Plan. The reference to the Canal & River Trust potentially working with commercial accommodation developer partners is also inappropriate, as it suggests that this option may be prioritised over other options.

Full text:

The Canal & River Trust (the Trust) is a company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity. It is separate from government but still the recipient of a significant amount of government funding.

The Trust has a range of charitable objects including:

* To hold in trust or own and to operate and manage inland waterways for public benefit, use and enjoyment;
* To protect and conserve objects and buildings of heritage interest;
* To further the conservation, protection and improvement of the natural environment of inland waterways; and
* To promote sustainable development in the vicinity of any inland waterways for the benefit of the public.

Within Harborough District the Trust owns and operates some 26km of the Grand Union Canal and a further 9km of the Harborough Arm of the canal. This includes Foxton Locks, a Grade II* listed flight of staircase locks (the largest such flight on the English canal system) together with the remains of the Foxton Inclined Plane which was built at the beginning of the 20th century to allow boats to bypass the lock flight. The Inclined Plane is a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The Trust welcomes the inclusion of specific reference to Foxton Locks at section 4 of Policy RT4 and the in-principle support it provides for improving the offer of the Locks area as a visitor and tourist attraction.

The explanatory text to Policy RT4 makes further reference to Foxton Locks at paragraphs 7.7.10 and 7.7.11. We are concerned however that the specific references to the Trust's Destination Management Plan (DMP) at paragraph 7.7.11 are not appropriate (please also see our comments in relation to Policy HC1) and may fail the tests of soundness. There is also a risk that the Plan may not be legally compliant if these references are retained.

The Trust commissioned production of the DMP in 2015 to assist in identifying the options for promoting the Locks and improving its offer as a local and regional attraction. The DMP was completed in 2016. However, this document was primarily planned as a tool to inform decisions by the Trust on how best to formulate future proposals for the Locks area, and was not specifically planned to be a public document. As such, the structure of the DMP and the amount of commercially sensitive information contained within it, does not in our view make it appropriate for wider publication.

Whilst the DMP is being used to help inform the Trust's approach, further work, including ongoing liaison with a range of stakeholders, is expected to take place before final decisions are taken to determine the particular schemes to be progressed, the form such schemes will take and the phasing of them. The DMP does not therefore provide a specific or definitive strategy for the future management and development of Foxton Locks.

The DMP does not currently form part of the publicly available evidence base for the Proposed Submission Local Plan. We do not therefore consider that reference to this document as set out in the Plan is appropriate.

As we do not propose to make the DMP a publicly available document, we do not consider that the explanatory text to Policy RT4 at paragraph 7.7.11 is appropriate, as such specific reference to and reliance on a document not in the public domain risks the Plan being found to fail the tests of soundness in terms of not being justified or effective.

As the DMP is not specifically designed to set out the Trust's formal position for managing and developing Foxton Locks as a visitor attraction, the first sentence of paragraph 7.7.11 could fail the justification test in that it cannot be assumed that it has identified the most appropriate strategy for the future management of the Locks area. Similarly, as the Trust has not yet made final decisions on the intended approach to future management of the Locks area, the Plan cannot be considered to be effective because it is not clear whether the aspirations and options within the DMP can or will be delivered during the Plan period.

We are further concerned that the Plan may not be considered to be legally compliant if the evidence base underpinning it does not include the DMP, as the evidence base should make publicly available all relevant documents. Table B.25 should also be amended to remove reference to the DMP as supporting evidence for the policy.

In addition to the need to address the references to the DMP, we also note the reference at paragraph 7.7.11 to the Trust potentially working with commercial accommodation developer partners. It is not clear why this particular possibility should be mentioned when it represents only one option amongst others that could be investigated. We are therefore unclear as to the reason for its inclusion within the explanatory text to Policy RT4, and are concerned that it could suggest an expectation that this option will form a part of any future scheme for the site. Again, we are concerned that such specific reference to one option, without any certainty that this option will be pursued, may not meet the tests of soundness in terms of being justified or effective. For clarity, and also to ensure that the Plan satisfies the tests of soundness, we suggest that this reference is also removed from paragraph 7.7.11 of the explanatory text.

We do not consider that these amendments to paragraph 7.7.11 of the explanatory text require any change to Policy RT4 itself, and we reiterate our view that the wording of Policy RT4 provides appropriate in-principle support for the sensitive development of the role of Foxton Locks, and allows the Trust to progress investigations to identify the most appropriate solutions for achieving this, including working with the Council and other stakeholders.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

8.1.13 to 8.1.15 Explanation

Representation ID: 6723

Received: 15/11/2017

Respondent: Canal & River Trust

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

References to the Canal & River Trust's Destination Management Plan are not appropriate as this document has not been made publicly available. The requirement that future development should be in accordance with the Destination Management Plan is not justified, as this document does not provide a definitive strategy for managing the Foxton Locks area and may well change during the life of the Local Plan.

Full text:

The Canal & River Trust (the Trust) is a company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity. It is separate from government but still the recipient of a significant amount of government funding.

The Trust has a range of charitable objects including:

* To hold in trust or own and to operate and manage inland waterways for public benefit, use and enjoyment;
* To protect and conserve objects and buildings of heritage interest;
* To further the conservation, protection and improvement of the natural environment of inland waterways; and
* To promote sustainable development in the vicinity of any inland waterways for the benefit of the public.

Within Harborough District the Trust owns and operates some 26km of the Grand Union Canal and a further 9km of the Harborough Arm of the canal. This includes Foxton Locks, a Grade II* listed flight of staircase locks (the largest such flight on the English canal system) together with the remains of the Foxton Inclined Plane which was built at the beginning of the 20th century to allow boats to bypass the lock flight. The Inclined Plane is a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument.

We welcome the support within section 5 of Policy HC1 for development that enhances the role of Foxton Locks and the former inclined plane as a tourism and recreational facility, and we support the clear requirement that any such development must maintain and enhance the acknowledged value and importance that they have as nationally significant heritage assets.

The explanatory text to Policy HC1 makes further reference to Foxton Locks at paragraph 8.1.14. We are concerned however that the specific reference to the Trust's Destination Management Plan (DMP) within this paragraph is not appropriate (please also see our comments in relation to Policy RT4) and may fail the tests of soundness. There is also a risk that the Plan may not be legally compliant if this reference is retained.

The Trust commissioned production of the DMP in 2015 to assist in identifying the options for promoting the Locks and improving its offer as a local and regional attraction. The DMP was completed in 2016. However, this document was primarily planned as a tool to inform decisions by the Trust on how best to formulate future proposals for the Locks area, and was not specifically planned to be a public document. As such, the structure of the DMP and the amount of commercially sensitive information contained within it, does not in our view make it appropriate for wider publication.

Whilst the DMP is being used to help inform the Trust's approach, further work, including ongoing liaison with a range of stakeholders, is expected to take place before final decisions are taken to determine the particular schemes to be progressed, the form such schemes will take and the phasing of them. The DMP does not therefore provide a specific or definitive strategy for the future management and development of Foxton Locks.

Paragraph 8.1.14 indicates clearly that future development of the Locks area will be in accordance with the DMP. The DMP does not currently form part of the publicly available evidence base for the Proposed Submission Local Plan. We do not therefore consider that reference to this document as set out in the Plan is appropriate.

As we do not propose to make the DMP a publicly available document, we do not consider that the explanatory text to Policy HC1 at paragraph 8.1.14 is appropriate, as such specific reference to and reliance on a document not in the public domain risks the Plan being found to fail the tests of soundness in terms of not being justified or effective.

As the DMP is not specifically designed to set out the Trust's formal position for managing and developing Foxton Locks as a visitor attraction, the requirement for further development to be in accordance with it is likely to fail the justification test in that it cannot be assumed that the DMP is the most appropriate strategy for the future management of the Locks area. Similarly, as the Trust has not yet made final decisions on the intended approach to future management of the Locks area, the Plan cannot be considered to be effective because it is not clear whether the aspirations and options within the DMP can or will be delivered during the Plan period.

We are further concerned that the Plan may not be considered to be legally compliant if the evidence base underpinning it does not include the DMP, as the evidence base should make publicly available all relevant documents. Table B.26 should also be amended to remove reference to the DMP as supporting evidence for the policy.

We do not consider that removal of the reference to the DMP contained in the explanatory text requires any change to Policy HC1 itself, and we reiterate our view that the wording of Policy HC1 provides appropriate in-principle support for the sensitive development of the role of Foxton Locks, and allows the Trust to progress investigations to identify the most appropriate solutions for achieving this, including working with the Council and other stakeholders.

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.