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Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework

What is the Joint Spatial Framework?

The Joint Spatial Framework will be prepared by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council and is included within the respective programmes of work for each council's local plan review.

It will set out in broad terms the amount and spatial distribution of new jobs, homes and infrastructure in the period 2016 to 2036. It will become evidence to inform each individual local plan review enabling the preparation of separate but aligned local plans. Moving forward each Local Plan review will take its lead from the broader strategy included within the Joint Spatial Framework.

Latest Timetable

Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council are pausing further consultation on the review of their Local Plans until the Government finalises revised planning guidance.  The Wiltshire Local Plan Review (LPR) and the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework (JSF) will guide the overall scale and pattern of development looking to 2036. Consultation was carried out at the end of 2017 on the proposed scope of work. 

The following Spring, however, the government consulted on a draft version of a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and revisions to the accompanying Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).  The revised NPPF will have implications for plan making and the work undertaken by Swindon and Wiltshire.  The government is intending to publish its final updated NPPF ‘in the summer’ which would fall during the proposed options consultation on the JSF. 

The Council is reviewing the local plan timetable published in the Wiltshire Local Development Scheme 2017 and as soon as further information is available it will be made available via this and the Wiltshire Local Plan Review webpages.


Consultation on the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework

Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council published the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework: Issues Paper and supporting evidence papers for each Housing Market Area for consultation between 7 November and 19 December 2017. The documents are available to download below.

Comments were invited on these documents and supporting evidence during the six week consultation period, which ran from 9:00am on Tuesday 7 November 2017 until 5:00pm on Tuesday 19 December 2017.

Joint Evidence

In addition to working together on the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework the two councils will work together to develop the evidence base which supports it.

Assessments of need for homes and jobs (2016 to 2036)

Swindon Borough and Wiltshire Councils commissioned two independent studies to inform the review of their local plans including the preparation of a non-statutory Joint Spatial Framework to enable each plan period to be extended to 2036. These are:

  • A Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA); and
  • A Functional Economic Market Area Assessment (FEMAA).

Consistent with one of the planning principles of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF):

“Every effort should be made objectively to identify and then meet the housing, business and other development needs of an area, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth.” (Paragraph 17)

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Functional Economic Market Area Assessment provide independent projections for new homes and jobs looking ahead to 2036 and are an important part of the evidence base for the review of housing and employment needs of the area. They have been made available to inform the review of the planning policies and proposals of each authority’s local plans.  The preparation of each plan will work towards strategies which seek to meet objectively assessed development needs and plan for associated infrastructure requirements. 

The two studies do not alter the current Swindon Borough Local Plan and Wiltshire Core Strategy that cover the period to 2026.   The housing and employment requirements contained in these plans have been thoroughly tested and successfully passed through examination processes and took into account a range of considerations, such as environmental constraints.

The projections produced by the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Functional Economic Market Area Assessment have yet to be tested and are a first step in the local plan review process.  As reiterated in the recent consultation by the government on a proposed approach to calculating local housing need:

“... local planning authorities should start the plan-making process with a clear understanding of the number of new homes they need in their area.  While this is an essential first step, it is not the only stage in the process.  Local planning authorities then need to determine whether there are any environmental designations or other physical or policy constraints which prevent them from meeting this housing need.  These include, but are not limited to, Ancient Woodland, the Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.  They also need to engage with other authorities – through the duty to cooperate – to determine how any need that cannot be accommodated will be redistributed over a wider area.  This means that the level of housing set out in a plan may be lower or higher than the local housing need.”

(Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals, paragraph 9)

This government consultation builds on proposals in the Housing White Paper (Fixing our broken housing market), which proposed a standard approach to assessing local housing need and is now consulting on a proposed approach. The outcome to the consultation and changes to government policy will be taken into consideration as part of the plan making process. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Functional Economic Market Area Assessment will be kept under review.


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Last updated: 19 June 2018 | Last reviewed: 19 June 2018