We may have had our worlds turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic – but local planning never sleeps. And in spite of the fact it is often felt the views of the public are routinely ignored – nevertheless the Council still have a legislative duty to submit proposed plans to the local public for their views.
The Government are encouraging local authorities to continue preparing their Local Plans – those documents that are often cited either as inadequate and therefore allowing rampant development or written in stone and therefore allowing rampant development!!
But putting the cynicism aside – Local Plans are important – and can be used as good basis for arguing against unnecessary or unsympathetic development – so are worth scrutinising for those who have the time and the inclination – something all of us are finding we have more of at the moment – well the time bit anyway.
On 29 March 2019, East Suffolk Council’s Suffolk Coastal Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination, under Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.
Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI was appointed to conduct the examination to determine whether the Local Plan was sound.
Following the public hearings which were held in August / September 2019, the Inspector has written to the Council advising what modifications are likely to be required in order for the plan to be found ‘sound’.
Before the Inspector can finalise his conclusions on the soundness of the Plan, a series of documents relating to Main Modifications have been published for consultation. A tracked change version of the Final Draft Local Plan, which incorporates all proposed modifications, has also been published for reference purposes.
ESC point out that:
‘It should be noted that this consultation is not an opportunity to re-state previous representations, as these have already been considered as part of the examination. This is also not an opportunity to raise new objections to the submitted Local Plan. This consultation is purely on the modifications and it is only these which are available for comment.’
In view of the current Covid-19 social distancing measures, the Council has set out measures to enable all who wish to to participate in the consultation and to ensure people are not disadvantaged by non access to the internet.
The consultation is being held for an extended period of ten weeks and runs from 2pm on Friday 1st May until 5pm on Friday 10th July 2020.
The documents can be viewed on line and comments submitted here, www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/localplanexamination.
Should you not be able to view the consultation documents online, please contact ESC on 01394 444557 or email email@example.com and they will, where possible, provide hard copies (free of charge) by post.
Please note if contacting ESC on the number above, they are currently operating under a voicemail service so leave a message including your contact details and they assure that your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Comments can be submitted online via the website above or can alternatively be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or can be sent to the Planning Policy and Delivery Team at East Suffolk Council, Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, NR33 0EQ.
Comments must be received by 5pm on Friday 10th July 2020. Comments will be sent in their entirety to the Independent Planning Inspector. Comments will also be published online, although personal details will be removed.
Alongside the consultation on Main Modifications, the Council has also published a number of proposed ‘Additional Modifications’ which it wishes to make to the plan prior to adoption. These ‘Additional Modifications’ do not materially alter the policies of the plan and are generally minor clarifications and corrections of factual errors. The Council would welcome any comments on these additional modifications. However, please note the Inspector will not be considering comments made on the additional modifications.
A number of changes are also proposed to the Policies Maps to take into account ‘Main Modifications’ and ‘Additional Modifications’ and to make factual or presentational amendments. A schedule of these has been published together with revised Policies Maps incorporating the proposed changes. The Council would also welcome any comments on these during the consultation period above.
The Schedule of Proposed Additional Modifications and Schedule of Proposed Policies Map Modifications are available to view via the methods set out above. Comments can be submitted online, by email to email@example.com or by post to East Suffolk Council, Riverside, 4 Canning Road, Lowestoft, NR33 0EQ and must also be submitted by 5pm on Friday 10th July 2020.
The Council has submitted to the Inspector responses to his questions and additional evidence as required through the Examination. These are available to view in the Document Library on the Examination pages of the Council’s website.