THE PUBLIC examination of the document that will guide the district’s future development is set to resume in January.
Stratford District Council’s Core Strategy was submitted to the government in September 2014 and a month-long public examination by planning inspector Pete Drew followed in January of this year.
But in his interim report released in March, Mr Drew maintained the key planning document was ‘not sound’ and the council’s target of building 11,300 homes by 2031 would almost certainly need to increase.
As a result, the authority was forced to make a number of modifications – including revising its target to 14,480 homes.
One of the most controversial elements of the strategy – plans for a new 3,000 home settlement in Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath (GLH) – has drawn huge opposition from both residents and FORSE – the campaign group set up to fight the proposals, who maintain the process the council used to select the site was flawed.
And although the GLH proposals have stayed in the document, councillors did agree to look again at a site on Long Marston Airfield – previously rejected in favour of the GLH scheme – which would see some 2,100 homes built during the plan period and 3,000 overall.
They also backed proposals for 500 homes on land off Daventry Road in Southam and a further 450 homes on the edge of Stratford off Bishopton Lane at a meeting in July.
A six week consultation period was then undertaken and the changes were formally rubber stamped by councillors in October when it was agreed the authority would re-submit the document.
Mr Drew will now be returning to the council’s Elizabeth House HQ in the New Year to continue the public examination and determine whether the plan’s policies are positively prepared, justified, effective, consistent with national policy and legally sound.
The hearings are set to begin on Tuesday, January 12 and will continue over a two week period with sessions running from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Members of the public are free to attend and listen, however, participation in the sessions is determined in advance by the inspector and limited only to those who have made representations relevant to the topic under consideration.
Leader of Stratford District Council, Chris Saint, said: “We are pleased to see the process taking another step forward, but disappointed the examination hearings are unable to resume earlier.
“This is a further step along the journey of getting an adopted Local Plan, that has undergone a highly bureaucratic process following government regulations with many delays out of our control.”
The full programme of sessions has been published on the district council’s website.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk/examination for more information.