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Emerging Local Plan

Fenland District Council is preparing a new Local Plan. This is an important document as it will determine what the district will look like in the future and how it will become an even better place to live, work and visit.

Once adopted, the new Local Plan will replace the current Fenland Local Plan (May 2014). Documents relevant to the preparation of the emerging Local Plan are available to view and download from the Document Library.

We consulted on the Issues & Options Consultation Document from 11 October to 21 November 2019. As part of this consultation we held a Call for Sites exercise, invited nominations of Local Green Spaces, and invited views on the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report. Thank you to everyone who responded.

We are currently undertaking a further Call for Sites exercise.

Second 'Call for Sites' and updated Local Plan timetable - July 2020

In early 2020 work commenced on a draft version of the Local Plan for public consultation in summer 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work on preparing the Local Plan has been delayed. On 28 July 2020 Cabinet approved a revised timetable (known as a Local Development Scheme) to take into account the delays and also to allow the opportunity for a second call for sites exercise to take place.

Icon for pdf Fenland Local Development Scheme 2020 [457.61KB]

The revised LDS shows that consultation on the draft Local Plan will now take place in February 2021.

Call for sites

Local Plans must identify a supply of specific and deliverable sites, particularly during the first five years of the plan. This means that the site must be available now with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years. Therefore, the availability and deliverability of sites forms an important part of the site assessment process.

In March 2020 the Council published a Viability Report which shows that across the district development is marginal in financial terms. All Local Plan policies, sites and requirements will be assessed to ensure that the emerging Local Plan will not undermine the deliverability of the Plan and that all sites identified are deliverable. The Viability report will be updated as the plan progresses.

Therefore, the outcomes of the viability report could result in policies in the emerging Local Plan that mean that more sites might be available than originally thought, based upon historic requests for developer contributions and affordable housing.

In addition, given the current economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic we are also asking any promoters of sites submitted in October 2019 to tell us if the sites are no longer available for development.

If you would like to submit new sites to be considered as part of the Local Plan site assessment process please download and fill in the following Site Suggestion Form

Icon for pdf Form B - Second Call for Sites [689.63KB]

Icon for word Form B - Second Call for Sites (MS Word version) [345KB]

and return to:


Post: Local Plan Team, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, PE15 8NQ

The closing date is 11.59pm on Tuesday 8 September 2020

To be clear there is no requirement to resubmit sites, all sites previously suggested will still be included in the assessment process unless informed otherwise. However, this does provide an opportunity to submit any additional information that may help support previously submitted sites, particularly relating to viability and deliverability of sites.

Next Stage

Once all new sites and updated information has been processed a second SHELAA report will be prepared that will list all new sites. The preferred sites will be included in the draft Local Plan which will be available for public consultation in February 2021.

For further information please e-mail

Consultation on Local Plan & CIL Viability report - April-May 2020

The Council has commissioned a viability assessment to inform the preparation of the emerging Local Plan. Viability testing is an important part of the plan-making process with national policy and guidance requiring Local Plans to be deliverable, whilst ensuring that maximum benefits in the public interest have been secured. 

The Council's viability report is available to download below. Please note due to the file size of the report, two versions are provided - with appendices and without.

The Council invited the development industry and other key stakeholders to comment on the Viability Report through a focussed consultation in April and May 2020. A summary of key issues raised, and the Council's response are provided in the following report:

Issues & Options Key Issues Report - Feb 2020

Consultation on the Issues & Options Consultation Document marked the first stage in the process of preparing a new Local Plan. The Issues & Options Consultation Document provided background information on a range of planning issues and posed a series of questions about what could be included in the new Fenland Local Plan. During the Issues and Options consultation, drop-in sessions were held at local libraries in Wisbech, March, Whittlesey and Chatteris.

We have reviewed the comments we received during the consultation and have prepared a Key Issues Report which summarises the main issues and points of view raised. The report is accompanied by full transcripts of individual's comments. Views expressed in response to the Issues & Options Consultation Document will inform the preparation of the Draft Local Plan.

Visit the Issues & Options Key Issues page to view the report.

Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment (Stage 1) - Feb 2020

Through the 'Call for Sites' exercise, the Council invited land owners, agents, developers and other individuals and organisations to submit sites to be considered for inclusion in the new Local Plan.

The Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment (Stage 1) Report (SHELAA) sets out all site submissions received during the Call for Sites exercise, and other available sites such as existing Local Plan allocations and major sites with planning permission.

At this stage, no assessment has been carried out to determine the suitability of submitted sites. All sites contained in the SHELAA report will be assessed in accordance with the Icon for pdf Site Assessment Methodology Report Oct 19 [1.53MB]. The findings of the site assessment process will be set out in a 'Stage 2' SHELAA report, which will be published alongside the draft Local Plan. The Council's preferred sites will be included in the draft version of the Local Plan. 

The Stage 1 SHELAA report is available to download from the Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessmentpage, which includes an interactive map to assist in locating sites.

Local Green Space Submissions Report - Feb 2020

Local Green Space designation grants protection to open spaces which are of special importance to the communities they serve. We invited local communities to nominate open spaces for designation as Local Green Spaces. 

The Local Green Space Submissions Report explains criteria the Council will use to assess green spaces, and provides details of the green spaces which were submitted during the Issues & Options consultation.

At this stage, submitted green spaces have not been assessed to determine their suitability for designation. Following detailed assessment, preferred Local Green Spaces will be included in the draft version of the Local Plan. 

Visit the Local Green Space Submissions page for further info.

Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report

It is a statutory requirement for Local Planning Authorities to carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of their Local Plan. Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is an iterative process undertaken alongside the preparation of the Local Plan. It assesses the extent to which policies in the Plan deliver development which is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. 

The SA Scoping Report is the first stage in the SA process. Through an assessment of the current social, environmental and economic situation in Fenland, the SA Scoping Report identifies which issues need to be addressed and identifies objectives to test the Plan and policies against. This assessment will help to establish the Issues, Vision and Objectives of the emerging Local Plan. 

We will review comments on the  Icon for pdf Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report October 2019 [18.99MB] , and update the document accordingly in due course.

Next Steps - Live Timetable & Local Development Scheme

The National Planning Policy Framework requires Local Plans over five years to be reviewed. The Fenland Local Plan reached five years old on 8th May 2019. Therefore, at the Full Council meeting on 21 February 2019, a proposed review and update of the Local Plan was approved along with a revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) which sets out the timetable for its production. the latest iteration of the Local Development Scheme was approved by Cabinet on 28 July 2020.

Icon for pdf Fenland Local Development Scheme 2020 [457.61KB]

Icon for pdf 'Live' timetable for the production of the Local Plan (September 2020) [427.87KB]

Statement of Community Involvement

The Icon for pdf Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) [744.05KB] sets out how the Council will involve and consult with the public and wider stakeholders when planning for the future of the district. Government sets out minimum requirements for public consultation on planning matters and the SCI sets out the Council's additional local commitments to consultation. The SCI covers consultation arrangements in respect of planning applications, planning policy matters (such as a new Local Plan) and arrangements for community involvement in, and the requirements of, the Neighbourhood Planning process.

If you would like to be notified of the Local Plans progress, please send your contact email address to:

Your e-mail address will only be used in accordance with principles found in the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Please see for further information. 

Document Library

To support the new Local Plan a number of evidence documents and other supporting documents will be prepared. The Document Library contains all documents relevant to the preparation of the Local Plan.

Page last updated: 8 September 2020


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