Why is the Local Plan so important?
Kirklees Council leader David Sheard has asked local residents and businesses to make their views on the Local Plan known to government inspectors.
He said the next consultation period is aimed at making sure proposals have been properly developed and considered.
The Local Plan will form the background to proposals for the next 15 years. It will be considered by Cabinet members and then all 69 councillors next week.
You can speak at those meetings, but Cllr Sheard said comments may not carry the weight people think at this stage.
“Cabinet will receive an officer document on the basis that this is a sound plan, one which we believe will be found to be sound by the Planning Inspectorate.
“It is really important that the plan is found to be sound because if we are in a position where there is no plan at all, the Secretary of State would intervene and impose a plan on us.
“If no plan is in place, we would have much less control over planning processes, so it would be difficult if not impossible to safeguard our urban greenspace or our green belt. That would continue to be at risk.”
Cllr Sheard said that council will need to agree a plan that meets the government test of soundness rather than one that is politically acceptable.
The plan needs to identify enough land for housing. Kirklees needs to find space for a further about 31,000 homes and enough employment space for a thriving economy.
This must be achievable in the lifetime of the plan.
“The process allows for people to make representations to the Planning Inspectorate. I believe that people should come forward to make objections or support applications at that stage where they can be judged on their merit.
“I think the other political groups on the council, while probably not agreeing entirely with the proposals as they stand, understand and recognise the need for us to have a sound plan in place. I think they believe the proposals we have are sound, although politically they are difficult. The issue is bigger than any piece of land in any individual ward, and I am asking all councillors to see that bigger picture.”
What’s next for the Local Plan
If council agree the Local Plan next week, the next consultation stage will begin on November 7. The Planning Inspector stage will begin in Spring 2017. This stage will allow the public or political groups to submit arguments about particular sites.