From Our West Lancashire
“As trailed in our last bulletin, the Local Plan process has recommenced. Last week, the Labour cabinet agreed a new Local Development Scheme which sets out the timetable for preparation of a new local plan.
“Despite the impact on internal resources and on evidence gathering as a result of the pandemic and with limited engagement with the Local Plan Working Group, Cabinet supported a schedule which would see a new plan to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in early 2023 and full adoption by West Lancashire Borough Council before the end of 2023. There will be a shortened process adopted.
“The new Local Plan timeline is to be increased by 2 years to cover the period from 2023 to 2040, replacing the current adopted plan which expires in 2027. To support the schedule and to comply with the requirement for public consultation, will mean that public input will be sought from as early as October this year. OWL are concerned that the pressure to hit this timeframe may mean that the nature of this consultation may not be as in depth as the previous Local Plan Preferred Option consultation undertaken in 2018 and may well see a simplified and more structured questionnaire format. However, it will be important for everyone concerned about the development of West Lancashire to have their input from this early stage, and OWL will continue to offer support and guidance as the consultation details are released.
“Following the public consultation in October, the council will then prepare the publication/pre-submission version of the Local Plan, and although this will go out for further consultation in late 2022, any response and input from the public will not be heard by the council but will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate for their consideration as to the soundness of the submitted version. During the Inspectorates’ deliberation it is also expected that there will be an opportunity for public input at formal hearings.
“The Local Plan Working Group meeting schedule has been impacted by the pandemic, but it is anticipated that this group will continue to play a role in scrutinising the ongoing work to gather updated evidence and to inform the structure of the public consultation to be undertaken later this year. We will be pressing hard on this point in the coming weeks.
Policies on Planning from OWL for the Local Elections
“Champion a new improved local plan that recognises West Lancashire’s predominantly rural nature, builds homes only to meet local need, protects the best agricultural land and addresses climate change.
“Create a £100,000 planning refusal legal defence fund – this will provide funds so that the council can defend its position when unhappy developers take legal action after the council has refused their planning application.
“No secret caucus meetings before planning committee as Labour and Conservative hold.
“Remember, Labour have only a slim majority. If they lose three seats at May’s elections then there is no overall control and then all councillors and the residents they represent will have a voice, especially on the local plan. Your vote can bring about the change that finally consigns Labour’s damaging local plan proposals to history”.
Our West Lancashire
Putting residents first and foremost