05:04PM, Tuesday 04 December 2018
A ‘lengthy pause’ in the examination of the new Borough Local Plan means that it may not resume until after late May 2019.
That represents a delay in the timetable suggested by the plan’s inspector, Louise Phillips, who in September proposed it continue ‘early in 2019’.
The local plan, which will guide housing and other developments in the borough up to 2033, needs to be approved in an examination. The first stage of that process began in June.
In a letter published today, Ms Phillips said the council had found its method of selecting some development sites that could be at risk of flooding ‘was not as robust as it could have been’.
In response, the council released a statement this afternoon which says a public consultation will take place to gather views on flooding and site selection before the examination continues.
The council said in a letter to the inspector that it expects 'to be in a position to consult on the additional work in late May 2019' due to the local election in March.
The ‘lengthy pause’ requested by the council has led Ms Phillips to ask the Royal Borough to consider ‘whether continuing with the examination of the presently submitted document is the most efficient and prudent course of action’.
She specifically asked the council to ‘ensure that you have reviewed the objections’ to other issues in the plan, such as housing numbers and employment provision ‘carefully and that you are confident the proposals in the plan are sound and do not also, upon reflection, require additional work’.
The council will respond to that by December 10.
Cllr David Coppinger, cabinet member for planning, said: “We want to hear the views of our residents and it is important to take time to ensure we deliver an effective plan for the borough.
“It is not unusual for councils to carry out further work on their plans during the examination period given that inspectors are required to work with councils to assist them to get a plan in place.
“The council is in regular correspondence with the inspector and will continue with the further work in relation to flooding and site selection.”
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