A Race Against Time?CPBC new New Local Plan and Green Belt protection!

This month’s Cabinet meeting agenda has been released with no mention of an updated Local Development Scheme programme.

The current version dated January 2014 indicates that the Castle Point Local Plan was expected to be processed within this schedule:

Examination                                        Dec 2014
Inspectors Report                               Feb 2015
Adoption                                             Mar 2015

Clearly this has faltered and we await a new look Local Plan based on:

Motion 1 (removal of some Green Belt sites for housing development ) 

To alter the draft Local Plan to prioritise protecting Green Belt over meeting our objectively assessed housing needs and  remove all virgin green belt sites listed without current planning permission, including sites listed in the Castle Point SHLAA 2014 (22 sites).

With the due date, 16th March or earlier, for the Secretary of State’s ruling on the Jotmans Farm Green Belt development Enquiry, fast approaching, it is interesting that CPBC do not feel the need to release an updated programme for the new New Local Plan during the Cabinet meeting.

Much weight appeared to be placed upon the requirement of consistent progress being made with the Local Plan process and reference made by the developer’s legal team that CPBC have failed in this requirement.

It is unclear whether the Secretary of State has made contact with CPBC as to progress of our Local Plan during his considerations.

We must assume that the Government’s End Date of 2017 for Local Plan’s, has over ridden the CPBC Local development Scheme programme and schedule, otherwise why would CPBC not issue a new schedule ahead of the Jotman’s decision being released?

We cannot expect the Persimmon’s legal team to not object to any extension to the SoS’s decision being released, nor an acceptance that time being afforded for the Local Plan to continue until 2017 for Examination, prior to them seeking judicial review.

A clear statement and release of a Local Plan schedule may appear the minimum requirement necessary, especially ahead of the May local elections.

Commitment to the protection of Green Belt is admirable, but notice of intent will be the minimum first step towards maintaining the confidence of the Inspectorate and local residents.

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One response to “A Race Against Time?CPBC new New Local Plan and Green Belt protection!

  1. During the Full Council debate at which Motion 1 was narrowly selected by the casting vote of our Mayor Andrew Sheldon, Andrew asked the senior Castle Point Planning Officer to clarify the term Virgin Green Belt as far as planning terminology relates to. The Officer clearly explained that the planning process has not associated itself with the identification or term of Virgin Green Belt.
    It is therefore questionable that Motion 1 as it stands attracts any validity in that Virgin Green Belt does not exist in planning terms.
    Why did the Mayor seek such advice and then go on to use his casting vote to support a motion that carries no recognition subsequently having the effect of leaving all Green Belt unprotected.

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