Local Plan progresses with more answers for independent inspector

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council, says: "Our new Local Plan is the best way to provide the homes, jobs, education, transport and other essential infrastructure to balance community needs across our borough. Progress continues and we have now responded to the second set of initial questions and the matters and issues questions received from the Planning Inspector. Our answers give the opportunity to clarify the reasoning behind our plan and explain the positive steps taken to deliver the plan."

The initial questions document, received from the independent Planning Inspector at the end of March, was divided into two parts. The first section deals with key questions and the second is a set of questions and comments that will help the Inspector to clarify aspects of the plan. As requested we responded to the Inspector's first set of key questions by 10 April, followed now by our answers to the second set of initial questions.

The Planning Inspector published further questions in the Matters and Issues document on 23 April and we responded to them by the 17 May deadline. The hearing sessions are due to start on 5 June.

Cllr Spooner adds: "The Planning Inspector manages the whole process and decides if he wants to ask the Council, or anyone else, for clarification or to raise concerns as part of testing the soundness of our plan. Receiving and responding to each set of his examination questions marks another step forward and is part of the usual process when developing a new Local Plan."

The latest sets of the Council's answers and other examination documents are available to view online on our website at Local Plan Examination.

We submitted our Local Plan to the Secretary of State in December 2017. Alongside the plan, we also submitted all of the public consultation comments made in 2016 and the responses about the changes from last summer's consultation.

After a draft Local Plan is submitted, as well as managing the independent examination, the Inspector also contacts everyone who commented on the draft Local Plan at regulation 19 stage in 2016 and 2017 to see if they wish to participate in the public hearings.

When the Planning Inspector has completed the examination, he will produce his report and recommendations. We will then consider any changes that have been recommended and the full Council will be asked to decide whether to adopt the new Local Plan. We hope this final stage for the plan will be achieved by the end of 2018.

Published on Friday 18 May.