Kirklees Local Plan to go to Cabinet
Cabinet members will be asked to put a revised Local Plan – including changes made following public consultation – to a meeting of the full council later this month.
The Local Plan has been revised after taking into account comments received in the consultation and updates to its evidence base. The revisions include changes to the development sites included in the plan and some of the policies.
Factors considered in the proposals are the mix of housing needed in future, affordability, the need for land for economic use to meet jobs and economic growth targets, protection of green belt and land for open space, leisure areas and retail needs.
The council also assessed whether development on sites could be delivered within the timescales of the plan.
The public consultation period held at the end of 2015 was the biggest ever managed by Kirklees Council, with almost 6,000 people making 17750 comments.
More than 10,000 of these were in relation to land allocated in the draft plan, with almost 5,000 more relating to sites that were rejected at that time.
At the same time, a significant number of new site options were put forward, which council officers have assessed. These new areas include sites for housing, employment, urban greenspace and proposals for transport.
Councillor Peter McBride, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said the principles adopted include balancing the future need for economic growth and the right mix of homes with the need to manage the role and function of the green belt, levels of infrastructure and local need.
Where housing sites have been identified, this has been to maximise the chances of provision of new infrastructure like schools and roads as part of the development, better quality layouts and design, and reducing the need for releasing a bigger number of smaller green belt sites.
Cllr McBride added:
“The evidence tells us to plan for about 31,000 new homes over the plan period. With some developments in the pipeline already, we have had to find about 21,000 in this plan.
“Having a local plan in place is not a choice. Government tells us we have to have this, and the Planning Inspectorate will decide whether our plan is sound. So our process has to be based on evidence and not political expediency.
“In drafting our plan the way we have, we have actually increased the amount of urban greenspace.
“Many of the 17,000 responses were supportive of our overall approach; some challenging the allocation or rejection of specific sites; and a number of new suggestions that had not been considered at that point.
“Officers have spent the last six months going through these comments, and making changes to the plan where amendments are justified.
“So I will be recommending a strategic plan for economic growth, prosperity for our residents, and to build communities where people are better connected to services and opportunities. The proposals are ambitious, with employment opportunities for local people and clustered in strategic locations which mean we can access regional funding to make the transformational changes to road and transport networks to sustain consistent economic growth.”
What happens after the Cabinet meeting?
Following full council on 12 October, the revised Local Plan will also go to public consultation. This process is only related to legal and soundness tests. Consultation is expected to begin in November.
Members of the public who want to speak at the meeting of full council will need to register to speak, and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org before 4pm on Friday 7 October.
The meeting will be webcast on the Kirklees Council website www.kirklees.gov.uk