Next week Wealden District Council will consider a report before starting formal consultation on their new Local Plan.
The Local Plan is the key planning document. It will set out the policies which shape how our district will develop over the next 15-20 years.
Wealden District Council withdrew the last plan which was years in development and this year started over again, when an independent Planning Inspector told the authority they had failed in its legal duty. Since then, with outdated policies and without a five-year housing land supply, the district has seen a slew of planning applications from developers.
The Direction of Travel Consultation is the first step. It aims to give residents, businesses, neighbouring authorities and other stakeholders an opportunity to engage with the Planning Policy Team at an early stage in the process.
Four broad options are proposed to deliver the vast majority of the growth in the district. Recently the strategy has been to try and focus growth by extending existing towns. Another alternative might be to establish new settlements, dubbed “Garden Villages”, of around 2,000 to 5,000 homes, plus associated employment opportunities and community infrastructure. The document explains the options are not mutually exclusive and a combination could be used.
The document that sets out the issues, opportunities, challenges and critical planning matters that face our district. There are ten key themes, including climate change, infrastructure, housing, the economy including town centres and tourism, the natural environment, landscape, heritage and cultural assets, design, and health & wellbeing.
It is proposed for the public consultations will run between 23rd November and 18th January 2021.
Next week the Local Plan Sub Committee will note the contents of the draft document and agree the timings of the consultation.
So the consultation will take place between 23rd November and 8th January? Not much happens during those dates, does it?! The public will have plenty of time to respond. Nothing else to distract them, is there? We’ve had two lockdowns this year. Pity WDC couldn’t get their act together and issue the consultation during one of them, when we should have had more time on our hands, rather than over the Christmas period, when many will be revelling in the only period of joy this year can afford us. Typical.
The committee report states, “We are required to consult for a minimum six week period, however, because the consultation will run over Christmas the consultation will extend for an extra two weeks.”