The emerging Borough Local Plan is moving a step closer to delivery, with a second round of public hearing sessions arranged for October and November this year.
The public hearing sessions will consider a range of matters and issues including the plan’s spatial strategy, future housing provision and the policy framework for specific site allocations.
The Borough Local Plan is being examined by an independent planning inspector, Mrs Louise Phillips, who conducted a first round of public hearing sessions in June 2018. Following these hearing sessions, we were asked to address a number of issues highlighted by the inspector, which involved consulting with residents and businesses on proposed revisions to the plan and updating supporting documents. This process was completed in late 2019.
Following on from this, the inspector reviewed the proposed revisions to the plan and the comments received from residents and businesses, and in June this year, issued a series of questions to guide and inform the discussion at the second round of public hearings. Along with a range of interested parties, we responded to the inspector’s questions in writing, and having reviewed these responses, the inspector will prepare an agenda for each of the forthcoming hearing sessions.
Councillor David Coppinger, lead member for planning, commented: “Since June 2018, officers have been working very hard to address the issues raised by the independent inspector. I am confident that the changes we are proposing to the Borough Local Plan, which include the removal of some sites and the addition of others, along with the introduction of new policies to place a greater emphasis on ‘placemaking’, will help to ensure that the development needs of the borough are met in a more sustainable way.
“We are looking forward to assisting the independent inspector at the stage two hearing sessions, and subject to the modifications that the inspector feels are necessary to make the Local Plan ‘sound’, we anticipate adopting the Local Plan in spring/summer 2021.”
The detailed arrangements for these hearing sessions are still being finalised, but the hearings will take place in weeks commencing 5 and 19 October, and 9 and 16 November 2020.
Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the hearing sessions will be held virtually. Further details will be announced shortly, but in place of a public gallery, members of the public and other interested parties will be able to observe the discussions online.
A copy of the plan showing the proposed changes can be found at: https://rbwm.objective.co.uk/file/5512060.