21st Oct, 2017

Core Strategy could be 'sound' by end of year

Stratford Editorial 5th May, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE LEADER of Stratford District Council insists the modifications to the Core Strategy can be completed by the end of the year.

The key planning document, which will help shape development in the district until 2031, underwent a month-long public examination in January.

But an interim report released last month by government planning inspector, Pete Drew, revealed more work needed to be done before it could be rubber-stamped.

He suggested the authority’s target of 11,300 homes was “tight” and would almost certainly have to increase.

Although he reserved judgement on a new 3,000 home settlement in Gaydon and Lighhorne Heath (GLH), he did highlight a “major flaw” in the assessment of a site at Long Marston and advised the council to carry out further appraisals to ensure other sites did not provide a better alternative.

And Stratford District Council’s leader, Chris Saint, revealed the authority had already got the ball rolling.

In a statement released after a meeting of the authority’s full council this week, he said: “Work is underway to deal with revisions to the council’s housing need and additional sustainability appraisals, including further sites that might still be required for commercial uses.

“The evidence will be available by the end of May, enabling us to make the necessary appraisals during June, followed by early decisions that will need to go out for six weeks consultation.”

Coun Saint insisted much of the Core Strategy was already sound and maintained the policies that were no longer subject to challenge, could be adopted on an interim basis.

He added; “We expect to have completed the complex and bureaucratic route from partial to full soundness by the end of this year.

“The additional weight that can legally be given to many elements of the Core Strategy as it progresses from partial to full soundness will allow our planning committees more control over what may, or may not be approved.”

Coun Saint and the Tory-led council have previously come under fire from the Lib Dem members for delaying the document’s adoption.

And this week Labour’s only representative on the district councillor, Jeff Kenner, accused Coun Saint of “living in a fantasy land.”

He said: “Coun Saint continues to believe his Core Strategy can be saved by a few tweaks here and there when, in reality, it is fundamentally flawed.

“The Liberal Democrats are no better because they voted through the failed Core Strategy without giving it proper scrutiny. What is needed now is proper leadership.”

The council had hoped to have the document ready by the end of the month.

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