Council ‘on course’ to see new local plan signed off

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

A Government planning inspector has asked Huntingdonshire District Council to make tweaks to its proposed local plan as the authority prepares to submit the document for formal approval.

The local plan provides a framework for future housing growth and development in Huntingdonshire and serves as a guide against which planning developments can be judged.

All district councils are required to draft local plans and demonstrate that they have a five-year supply of housing sites available.

Following examination hearings in July and September, led by a Government inspector, the district council received confirmation in October that it had complied with relevant requirements in the preparation of the plan.

The inspector set out some modifications required to enable the plan to move towards final adoption, however. The council expects the changes, which include changing the status of several villages, will be finalised over the coming weeks and will then be subject to a seven-week round of public consultation, starting in December.

Councillor Ryan Fuller, executive councillor for housing, said: “We are delighted that the inspector has confirmed that the local plan can proceed towards adoption with so few modifications.

“One change the inspector has recommended is the removal of the local service centre designation of the three villages of Bluntisham, Alconbury and Great Staughton.

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“This category had been proposed last year to provide an opportunity for sustainable growth to support those villages that had a greater range of facilities than many others, and in response to calls to include more small and medium sized sites for local house builders.

“This category amounted to approximately 1.5 per cent of the total growth proposed across the district and we are pleased to support the inspector’s recommendation in this respect.

“The inspector has carefully considered our development proposals, and in concluding that we are able to appropriately plan for sustainable growth elsewhere in the district, has suggested that the proposed local service centres are not required.

“I am particularly pleased that the inspector has indicated that the council can meet its need for housing land from sites we have already identified, and that he has not required the council to add any additional speculative sites that were proposed by developers and landowners throughout the examination process.”

The council hopes it can move towards final adoption of the local plan early next year.