Local Plan Update (Standing Item) (Agenda item 7)
To receive an update.
Sarah Robertson, the Senior Planning Policy Officer informed Members that the consultation period for the Local Plan Preferred Site Options and Settlement Boundaries had commenced and would run from 19 September 2016 for a period of 6 weeks until 4pm on 31 October 2016. A number of comments had already been received.
Fourteen drop-in events had been arranged across the District and all comments would be reported to the Local Plan Working Group following the close of the consultation period. Further to this, letters had been sent to all concerned.
In the interim, the Planning Policy Team would continue to look at a number of evidence base studies including a Gypsy and Traveller Needs Assessment as well as an Indoor Sports Study that had recently been commissioned.
Referring to Neighbourhood Plans, Yaxham Parish Council had submitted theirs and had already been advertised under Regulation 16 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012. This was the first one of its kind for Breckland Council and would run for a period of 6 weeks until 21 October 2016.
As far as the Local Plan consultation was concerned, Councillor Clarke felt that the dates and times of the drop-in events should have been added to all correspondence also, he had not seen sight of the Transport Study that Councillor Charles Carter said would be included. Members were informed that the dates and times were all available on the website and had been included in the correspondence. The Senior Planning Policy Officer pointed out that the majority of sessions ran from 2pm until 8pm and as far as the Transport Study was concerned this had not been included but did form part of the evidence base studies and could be commented on through the consultation process. In response to a request, paper copies of this particular document would be made available at the drop-in sessions. Councillor Martin highlighted the fact that he had seen the dates, times and venues of the drop-in sessions advertised in the local press. Councillor Duigan raised concerns in relation to the mitigation plans and costings that had not, as yet, been put forward for the Transport Study. He pointed out that it would be difficult to ask or respond to any questions on Dereham if such matters were not available. Councillor Claussen agreed and mentioned the cumulative impact that the Transport Study would have on neighbouring villages which must also be taken into consideration. He knew that many people were not happy about what was being proposed in the Local Plan and felt that these concerns should be addressed and the drop-in sessions should be well advertised and be held in large enough venues. He suggested that a mechanism should be put in place to take on board what the people were saying and it needed to be made clear how this evidence would be taken forward beyond the closure of the consultation period. In response to another question in relation to further preferred sites, the Senior Planning Policy Officer advised that such sites were actively being sought and the Team would continue to look at new evidence in certain villages to ascertain whether any new land was available – new sites could still be put forward in the process. Councillor Joel wanted to know if other villages could take further allocations in such cases where the proposed allocations could not be met. Members were informed that such matters would be considered by the Local Plan Working Group. Councillor Wilkinson advised that he had circulated copies of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to Members as it emphasised that local people must be heard and included in their Local Plan.
The Chairman thanked the Senior Planning Policy Officer for her update.