The latest Heathscene has a short item about the Local Plan. The Plan is a key document that will guide the development of the borough for years to come.
Now, there’s nothing to argue about that. Except… if you look at the council’s website you’ll be able to read that “The Council is currently preparing a new Local Plan for the Borough that will cover the period 2014 – 2032…. A consultation on the draft plan will take place in Spring 2018”
Of course, currently planning for 2014 is a rather odd idea. And things didn’t work out like that. Not least, the goalposts shifted and the document became the ‘Draft Local Plan 2016-2032’.
The timetable for the shifted-goalposts document is (was?) that there would be a pre-submission consultation in June 2019, followed by what is called an Examination in Public in December 2019, with the final document being adopted in March 2020.
Er, yes. Perhaps. Or perhaps not. The June 2019 pre-submission consultation hasn’t happened yet. Instead, “The next consultation on the emerging Local Plan will take place later in 2020.”
How late is ‘later’? Well, the council’s mid year review up to September 2019 – a document passed by the council’s Executive, discusses the following target: “Develop a new Local Plan to guide development in the Borough…. Consult with the public, businesses and partners on the draft local plan in January and February 2020.” The review states that progress is “On Track”. But it’s now April, and we’ve not seen any such consultation. Was the Executive simply suckered?
There’s a serious danger that council ‘plans’ will react to circumstances, rather than shape them. The plans then – of course – become totally pointless. Perhaps that stage has been reached already?