Councils submit Joint Local Plan for examination
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have today submitted their Joint Local Plan for independent examination by the Secretary of State. Statement from Tom Barker, Assistant Director for Sustainable Communities, below:
“This is a significant milestone for our councils and I would like to thank all those involved in the process so far, including our councillors, communities, officers, and other stakeholders.
Following both councils opting to prepare a Joint Local Plan in 2016, careful consideration has been given to how the districts will balance the delivery of housing growth, important infrastructure, and essential employment, while safeguarding our natural and historic environment until 2037.
Residents, local businesses and other stakeholders were invited to have their say on proposals at a public consultation in 2017, when more than 14,000 representations were received. This helped inform the preferred options consultation in July 2019, during which a further 4,000 comments were made by consultees.
Public feedback has been reflected in the final version of the plan, which outlines how and where future development should take place – enabling Government housing targets to be met, whilst also supporting the councils’ ambition to build thriving communities.
Providing the facilities needed to keep pace with growth, such as schools and GP surgeries, forms a key part of the plan and is detailed in the accompanying Infrastructure Delivery Plan.
Importance has also been given to sustainable development and transport options, as well as protecting and enhancing the districts’ natural environment and heritage – meeting our council’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change and increasing biodiversity.
In addition, the plan focuses on developing the local economy, revitalising town centres and encouraging tourism, at a time when this is needed more than ever.
Officers have also worked with partners, including Natural England, the Environment Agency, Historic England and others, to co-ordinate a strategic approach and the plan is supported by an extensive evidence base to ensure its soundness and deliverability.
The final version of the plan was debated by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils last year before councillors moved to submit the plan for examination by the Secretary of State, after a six-week period inviting representations on the legal compliance and soundness of the plan.
These representations have now been published and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration during the examination.
Since its publication in November, the plan has carried some weight in the planning decision making process and, once adopted, will provide a clear and transparent approach to guide future development.”