Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), which provide an update on the examination of the Local Plan, the submission of further evidence and the examination programme.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), which provided an update on the examination of the Local Plan, the submission of further evidence and the examination programme. The Inspector wrote to the Council in August expressing concern at the delay of the Local Plan programme and asking for the immediate publication of outstanding work. The Head of Planning had written to the Inspector setting a revised programme for submitting further evidence to the examination. (Attached as Appendix A).
Members were reminded that on 7 March 2019 this Panel had agreed a work programme for progressing the Local Plan. This followed a call-for-sites exercise which took place between 7 January and 4 February 2019. Six week public consultation on these sites took place between May and June which this had resulted in over 10,000 responses. The unusually large number of responses had resulted in a delay to the programme.
Since the publication of the report the Head of Planning had received a letter from the Inspector; a copy which will be circulated to Panel Members and published on the website suggesting that Members may wish to carry out further consultation. Members were advised that with the General Election on 12 December and the purdah period; these would have an impact on the proposed timescales. Also the Head of Planning would be consulting with the Executive Member for Planning and the Programme Officer before responding to the Inspector’s letter.
Members were advised of the results of the consultation on housing and job numbers and a potential change to the plan period. Officers advised that there would be debate at the examination on the issues raised. Officers advised that at the hearing session they would advocate a change to the plan period from 2013-32 to 2016-35 but if there was a delay to the examination programme this may result in the need for the plan period to run to 2036.
Clarification was sought on the comments made by the Inspector in terms of the Council considering using a ‘Green Wedge’ policy designation to provide protection to the open breaks between settlement rather than relying on a Green Belt policy. A Member asked for clarification on the status of the interim Green Gap Policy approach and how it could be incorporated into the Local Plan. Officers advised that the Green Gap policy document was intended to be a Supplementary Planning Document which would need to relate to a policy in the Local Plan and would be finalised once the Local Plan was adopted.
The report set out that there were no climate change considerations associated with the report. Officers clarified that this related to consideration of the report itself whilst proposals for development in the Local Plan clearly would have climate change impacts. These impacts would be assessed in the Sustainability Appraisal whilst the Plan itself has policies which mitigate that impact.
The Officer reported evidence had been forwarded to the examination on the Landscape Sensitivity and the Green Gap Study. Members noted that any modification to the Green Gap policy will be brought to the Panel for consideration.
1. That the Panel notes the report and the update to the examination timetable.
2. That the Head of Planning discusses the issues raised by the Inspector with the Executive Member for Environment and Planning and the Programme Officer before responding to the Inspector’s letter.
3. That the Panel notes the matters which the Inspector will be focussing on at the December hearing sessions in the light of the representations and agrees to Officers advocating a change to the plan period.
4. That the Panel notes the submission of further evidence to the examination hearing sessions relating to Landscape Sensitivity and Green Gap Assessment.