Local Plan inspector issues findings

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The independent planning inspector examining the city council’s draft Local Plan has raised no substantive issues on housing numbers or locations, but he has chosen to make some modifications to the plan.

In a letter to the council on Thursday 15 December, Mike Moore says that the “great majority” of previous amendments made to the plan have addressed his concerns on its ‘soundness’. He also sets out eight new modifications. These include:

  • The removal of Brickfield Farm in Bridge from the sites allocated for housing. This was an allocation of 40 homes
  • The designation of land between Canterbury and the University of Kent as a Green Gap has been deleted
  • The designation of West Beach in Whitstable as a Local Green Space has been deleted
  • The allocation of employment land at Canterbury West railway station has been deleted

Other areas where modifications have been made to the plan are around affordable housing, housing technical standards and marketing requirements.

The council will now make the amendments Mr Moore has requested and send him an updated version. If he is satisfied with this, a period of public consultation will then follow in the new year. All comments made would be passed directly to the inspector.

Council Leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “The Local Plan sets out how we will manage the growth of the district to 2031, where new housing will go and our aspirations for the economy, facilitating the investment and employment opportunities that are crucial for a prosperous future.

“We’re pleased that good progress is being made with the draft plan and that we’re heading towards the final phase of the process.

“It’s reassuring that the approach we have taken to how the district should develop in the years to come is being supported and that there is no reference in the inspector’s letter to any change in the overall housing numbers, apart from the removal of one small site in Bridge. Amendments of this nature are perfectly normal during the course of the Local Plan process.

“We will be following the inspector’s instructions as laid out in his letter and look forward to the next round of consultation starting in the new year.”