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Draft local review plan to go to consultation

A draft of the borough’s Local Plan review which sets out planning policies and identifies how land should be used will go out for consultation this year.

It comes after West Norfolk Council’s cabinet voted to endorse the draft Local Plan, which had been prepared by way of a review of the Core Strategy and Site Allocations and Development Management Policies (SADMP) documents, for consultation at a meeting on Tuesday.

This is the first stage in the preparation of a new plan, which are reviewed every five years. The document updates the Core Strategy and SADMP taking the end date to 2036.

Lead officer Alan Gomm said features which differ from the former Local Plan include a ‘growth corridor’ along the A10 towards Ely and Cambridge and around 1,900 new houses proposed and allocated to 2036.

Councillor Jim Moriarty called for the matter to be deferred as he said there was “no rush” and claimed there were typographical errors in the draft plan.

Councillor Terry Parish said there was an issue with the phrase ‘at least’. He said: “In this current Local Plan the words ‘at least’ appear in front of site allocations, this has caused some sites to be given planning applications for double the amount of houses allocated to them.”

Mr Parish added: “An amendment to ‘at least’ is needed, it has to be stronger, tighter and provide no more room for changes to allocations than the planning committee and the electorate is prepared to give.”

Council leader Brian Long said the title of the report was not ‘final Local Plan review for adoption’ but a ‘Local Plan review draft for consultation’, and said any errors were likely to be picked up during the consultation.

Richard Blunt, cabinet member for development, said: “Until I was convinced by the officers that if we didn’t have ‘at least’ in there, we would lose the flexibility it would need to go to the inspector, I had to agree that we have it in there.”

Mr Blunt said there was an additional clause in the plan that means any increased numbers in an application from those given in policy documents “have to be justified”.

Members of the cabinet agreed to endorse the draft plan for consultation, and that the consultation period should run for a minimum of six weeks, but it should not start until an interactive mapping tool is available for public use.


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