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Thursday, December 12, 2013
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Next steps for East Devon’s Local Plan
Thursday, 17 October 2013
AROUND 265 individuals and organisations have made comments in the latest round of consultation on the East Devon Local Plan. Comments will be forwarded to the Planning Inspector later this month.
The examination of the plan started at the time it was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in August. We are expecting that in February 2014 there will be hearing sessions at which the Planning Inspector will listen in person to the arguments and cases that people want to present.
In August, the Planning Inspector, Mr Anthony Thickett, had advised that further consultation was needed because the changes from an earlier version were in his opinion significant enough to warrant another round of consultation.
Only those changes to the earlier version of the plan were to be the subject of any new comments.
Consultation closed at 12 noon yesterday on Monday, October 7th) and Councillor Helen Parr, Chairman of Development Management Committee, said: “Our Local Plan, like many others across the country, has generated considerable interest and debate. Now that a date has been set for the oral hearing sessions, we look forward to finalising our new planning policy document as soon as we can.”
New comments went before Development Management Committee on October 5th and will then go to full council on October 23rd - where approval will be sought to send the comments on to the Planning Inspector.
Leading up to the hearing sessions, which start on February 11th 2014, the Planning Inspector will look at the council’s plan in detail, the evidence behind it and comments received.
To help prepare for the hearing sessions, the Inspector will issue a draft programme by November 29th. Further statements from those involved will be sought by January 10th 2014. In some cases, inspectors will organise meetings prior to the hearing sessions to consider key matters. The Inspector for the East Devon inquiry has, however, decided that a pre-hearing meeting is not necessary and we agree with this conclusion.
The programme will set out matters that Mr Thickett considers appropriate for discussion at the hearing sessions. Mr Thickett has already started this process by setting out some of the issues relevant for East Devon Local Plan. Key issues identified for discussion include:
u a presumption in favour of sustainable development
u the length of the plan
u aims and objectives of the plan
u inclusion of what could be too much material and detail and of consistency between policies.
The inspector has also invited the council to produce topic papers on housing, affordable housing and employment.
Councillor Parr added: “It is common practice for an Inspector to request papers and further material. We trust that the papers we produce on these matters, and indeed any others Mr Thickett may request, will help the smooth and efficient running of the hearing sessions and examination process.
“We recognise that the critical point of the examination is to look at the soundness of our plan and the point behind this is to ensure that planning policy is as good as it can be and is fit for purpose.
“It is extremely beneficial to have an early insight from Mr Thickett and we trust that through the examination process we will be able to ensure that our final plan is sound, robust and as logical as is possible”.
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Sir Ray Tindle
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