Rural Planning Typologies Research: Final Report
6.54. It is also useful to think about the ways in which typologies might emerge more locally, and in particular to focus on the relationships between structure and local plan policy making. In this scenario, the approach would evolve in response to an area having considerable pressure for residential development in some areas where there are also environmental constraints. At the same time, within any given plan area, there may be a need to promote further residential development in order to provide support for declining rural services.
6.55. Within this scenario, the typology could be used at a relatively detailed level, to provide a clear steer for development control decision making which links with the wider aims of the structure and local plans. The structure plan would identify broad areas of opportunity and constraints, defined on the basis of environmental sensitivity and socio-economic data including census statistics and rates of new business start ups, sectoral shares and employment trends. The local plan would be the most appropriate level to translate this into site specific policies and proposals. This process is illustrated in Figure 6.2.
Use communter development to help regenerate some of the post industrial settlement in the south of the council area. Maintain policy of relative constraint in the northern part of the area, with policies to manage demand for tourism & recreation.
Figure 6.2 Developing locally specific typological approaches in response to market demand and opportunity
Real life example: Fife
6.56. This example provides a further illustration of the ways in which such a scenario might evolve. Fife is located in the eastern part of the central belt, bounded by the Firth of Forth to the south and the Firth of Tay to the north. The council area includes former coalfield area in the south and west and the higher quality rural areas to the north and east. The latter includes a number of historic settlements.
6.57. A locally defined typology would be able to reflect some of these important local variations. The following maps show that, although there are comparatively few environmental designations across Fife, there are significant variations in socio-economic factors, with significantly higher levels of employment deprivation in the south and west of the area. This is reflected in the 'development area' status. Coincidentally, the socio-economic distinction between the north-east and south-west of Fife is mirrored by the designation of a nitrate sensitive area covering the northern part of the area.
6.58. The national typology (shown below) suggests that the entirety of Fife falls within the commuter category, implying a degree of development restraint. While this may be appropriate in the more prosperous north and east of the council area, this may be less relevant in the south and west where there are higher levels of social exclusion, allied to local environments that have been degraded by past industrial activity. These pockets of potential rural need exist alongside considerable development pressure due to the area's proximity to Edinburgh. These pressures are greater than in the north and east of Fife.
6.59. Taken together, these factors suggest that a council wide typology would subdivide the national commuter area into at least two smaller areas, reflecting the variation in the socio-economic, local environmental and historic character of north-east and south-west Fife. The typology could also reflect the variations in market pressures for residential development in the east and west of the area. As a result, development control policies with varying assessment criteria for applications could be provided in relation to different parts of the area. Such policies may either reflect a presumption in favour of, or against residential development in different typological categories.