Published: Wednesday, 23rd June 2021
Representations from anyone interested in the development of the borough through to 2036 will soon be sought on the borough council's Local Plan Review Draft.
If agreed by full council on Thursday, 8 July these representations will be sent to an independent planning inspector, appointed by the Planning Inspectorate, ahead of the plan being formally scrutinised through a public examination process. Once complete, the planning inspector will determine whether the plan is sound.
All councils must have a local plan in place by 2023. By law, the local plan must be reviewed every 5 years. Planning decisions are based upon the local plan unless material circumstances indicate otherwise. It is vital that the local plan is kept up to date.
Notable changes within the plan are that 539 homes per year for the next 20 years are now required to be built, which is far fewer than the original 700 homes per year required in 2016 plan. There are only two new sites allocated in this local plan - one in Marham and one in Terrington St Clement (other sites are being carried forward). Some sites within the 2016 plan will be deallocated as they are not being brought forward for development and are no longer required to meet the council's 5-year housing land supply or housing need requirement.
Cllr Richard Blunt, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Development and Regeneration, said: "The review of our local plan began in 2016 with a call for sites and policy change suggestions. In 2019, the draft local plan review was published for a 6-week consultation period. All this data and evidence has been collated and assessed to produce a pre-submission local plan review draft. This has been presented to cabinet and approved for the next step - which is the call for representations. It will go before full council on Thursday, 8 July, and if approved, will then be published ready for people to make their representations to the Inspector ahead of the public examination."
"This is a really crucial stage and we would urge anyone with any views on the development of the area over the next 15 years, to take a look at the review of the local plan, and make the their comments. This is not a consultation but an opportunity to make representations to the Planning Inspector on the plan the council has produced. The inspector will then review all the documents and the representations before determining whether the Local Plan is sound.
"If it is found to be sound, it will be the blueprint against which all planning applications for the area will be determined over the next 15 years, along with national planning policy."
The Local Plan Review incorporates a host of supporting documents which include policies on environmental impact, flood risk, settlement boundaries, affordable housing and custom/self-build.
The documents will be available on the consultation portal on the borough council's planning pages, and there will be interactive maps to assist people reviewing the document.
If the review document is agreed at full council, the council will announce opportunities to get involved in the local media, on their social media channels and on their website west-norfolk.gov.uk, as well as letting specific stakeholders, such as parish councils, know how to make their representations.
Cllr Blunt concluded: "I can't impress enough on people how important it is to get involved at this stage. If you care about the way your area may be developed in the future, you need to look at this plan and now and make representations. Once it is determined as sound and fully adopted by the council, then there is nothing that can be done. It will be the document against which planning applications will be judged. I would urge everyone to take the time to have a look and submit their representations."