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Monday, 05 December 2022 10:50

Spelthorne Borough Council Submits Local Plan to Secretary of State

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At long last, after what has been many testing months for its officers, the Council makes the following announcement:

 "On Friday 25 November, Spelthorne Council submitted its draft Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities for independent inspection. The Plan will guide future development in the Borough over the next 15 years, including affordable homes for residents, local infrastructure, a new sixth form college and offer greater protection for our urban open spaces. The Plan positively tackles the impact of climate change in our borough and ensures important biodiversity is protected.

"It has taken more than five years to reach this key milestone. During that time, three public consultations totalling 32 weeks were undertaken on the Local Plan, together with further public consultations on the Staines Development Framework.

"Submitting the Plan for examination is a crucial step forward and an independent planning inspector will now be appointed by the Planning Inspectorate to consider whether it is ‘sound’ and can be adopted. This means the strategy and policies will be scrutinised in detail to make sure they are justified and effective and comply with statutory requirements. The land allocated as development sites will also be considered by the inspector.

"There will be a series of public hearings held in 2023 where the inspector will listen to all the arguments for and against various aspects of the Plan. The inspector will then advise Spelthorne if the Plan is sound, likely with some changes that will require further public consultation, before the Plan is brought back for a decision by councillors on whether the Council should adopt it. If so, the Local Plan can then be used when deciding planning applications.

"There is a new website dedicated to the examination process where residents can view the Local Plan and the supporting evidence and documents required for submission https://spelthornelocalplan.info . It will be updated in due course to contain further documents needed to stay informed, including officer responses to representations made during consultation, any letters received from the planning inspector, information about what stage is reached and the dates and documents for each hearing session, including links to the Planning Inspectorate videos explaining the examination process.

"The hearings will be open to the public and live-streamed online. The inspector will be appointed within the next three weeks and the Council will then provide further details on the hearings, which are likely to take place in spring 2023. The inspector will be notified of those who requested to appear at the hearings when representations were made during the consultation process."

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