Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Shenley Park SPD

Ends on 11 October 2023 (12 days remaining)
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Part 1: What has plan-making/ SEA involved to this point?

4. Introduction (to Part 1)


4.1 Work on the SPD has been underway since 2022, with a range of key milestones along the way, including engagement events with stakeholders.

4.2 This is important context; however, the aim here is not to provide a comprehensive explanation, or audit trail, of work to date. Rather, the aim is to explain work undertaken to develop and appraise reasonable alternatives in early 2023 ahead of finalising the Draft SPD for consultation.

4.3 More specifically, this part of the report presents information on the consideration given to reasonable alternative approaches to addressing a particular issue that is of central importance to the SDP, namely the distribution of housing, infrastructure and other land uses within the site. The decision was taken to refer to 'concept masterplan alternatives'.

Why focus on concept masterplan alternatives?

4.4 The decision was taken to focus on concept masterplan alternatives in light of the legal requirement, which is to define reasonable alternatives "taking into account the objectives and geographical scope of the plan."

4.5 Also, the decision was taken due to the likelihood of being able to differentiate between the merits of concept masterplan alternatives in respect of 'significant effects', mindful of the Government's Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), which is clear that SEA should focus only on significant effects.

4.6 Finally, whilst the SPD must deal with a wide range of detailed matters, there is known to be particular interest amongst stakeholder groups regarding the approach taken to distributing growth, infrastructure and other land uses within the site, i.e. concept masterplan alternatives.

Who's responsibility?

4.7 It is important to be clear that:

  • Defining alternatives - is ultimately the responsibility of the plan-maker, although the SEA consultant (AECOM) is well placed to advise.
  • Assessing alternatives - is the responsibility of the SEA consultant.
  • Deciding a preferred option - is the responsibility of the plan-maker.

Structure of this part of the report

4.8 This part of the report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 5 - explains the process of defining alternatives.
  • Chapter 6 - presents the outcomes of assessing alternatives.
  • Chapter 7 - explains reasons for supporting the preferred option.
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