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Consultation on the next Local Plan due to start

Published Friday 5 February, 2021
Last updated on Monday 8 February, 2021

Councillors have this week (Wednesday, 3 February) agreed to go out to consultation on the draft Local Plan Review.

The review of the existing Local Plan Bearing Fruits will help guide the development of the borough until 2038 and, if adopted, will set the basis for future planning decisions.

The local plan creates a blueprint for when and where major developments can take place, and where they shouldn’t.

It takes account of the feedback from earlier consultations that have taken place since 2018, including the “Looking Ahead” consultation on proposals for garden communities, which had the largest response of any Local Plan consultation in the borough.

Cllr Mike Baldock, cabinet member for planning at the council, said:

“Many people – myself included – disagree with the excessive housing targets the Government continues to impose on us.

“Unfortunately, we have to make sure we have a local plan that can meet these targets, or we risk losing the ability to decide what is built in the borough for ourselves.

“Previous consultations raised concerns about new garden communities, traffic congestion, air quality, our town centres, the lack of infrastructure and affordable housing and the need for quality jobs.

“We’ve listened to these, removed the contentious garden communities, and worked to put together proposals that I believe makes the best out of the impositions made by government.

“This is a package of ambitious and innovative policies reflecting the priorities of this council towards climate change, bio-diversity, affordable housing and regenerating our town centres.

“We will now go to the public to get their views on the draft, take stock of the comments submitted and consider our submissions to the inspector. This will then become the focus of the independent examination, the next stage in the process, which is expected to take place in 2022.”

The plan will be available for public viewing on the council’s website from Monday 8 February until Tuesday 23 March 2021.

With libraries and council offices closed due to the pandemic, it won’t be possible to provide physical copies of the plans at these locations. Hard copies, or extracts from documents, may be made available on request from LPcomments@swale.gov.uk or by calling 01795 417 014.

The meeting agenda and full report including the proposed local plan can be viewed here.