EDDC is moving on to the next stage in its Local Plan process – creating the planning blueprint for the district up to 2026.
The Local Plan Panel is handing over responsibility for taking the policy document forward to EDDC’s Development Management Committee – its parent body.
The disbanding of East Devon’s Local Plan Panel comes as the Government publishes its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which came into force on 27 March.
East Devon’s proposals are now coming together after years of preparation, but there’s still time for a degree of public consultation in the coming months before the policy document is finalised by EDDC and passed to the Government for ratification.
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of EDDC, takes up the story: “I have just returned from a meeting of the Local Government Association’s Rural Commission in London. Change for Local Government continues apace”.
“Having now been published, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) puts decision- making firmly in the hands of elected local politicians. If the NPPF is silent, local Members of the Local Planning Authority will decide”.
Local Planning Authorities have until March 2013 to put their Local Plans in place and EDDC is on course to achieve that target. From that moment on, the Local Plan will become the major planning guidance document for East Devon.
For the next year, existing policies still carry the most weight, even if there is limited conflict with the NPPF. From March next year onwards, these local policies will be judged against how they match up to the NPPF guidelines.
Paul Diviani again: “At East Devon, the Development Management Committee (DMC) will now drive the Local Plan agenda and will report to Full Council. A schedule that came to the Cabinet on 4 April detailed all relevant further consultation with the people of East Devon and we have to adhere to that schedule to meet the Government’s deadlines. Everyone is encouraged to examine that schedule to see where representation can be made.
“In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this protracted process, but especially the Local Plan Panel, in its various guises. Over time, there have been four Chairmen – Alderman Ray Franklin and Councillors Graham Brown, David Key and Mike Allen.
“Whilst the Panel was not empowered to make decisions, it performed a valuable function of consultation and evidence review, which will enable DMC and the Council to move on to the next stage. I am indebted to the Chairmen for the arduous task they have completed under considerable pressure. They and their Panels deserve their well-earned rest!
“Kate Little, Matt Dickins and the other Officers are to be congratulated on the speed and diligence of the evidence collation and I am confident after the final tweaks, that we have a document worthy of inspection and subsequent adoption”.
Here are the main elements of the upcoming timetable for the Local Plan:
•8 May – Draft Plan goes to DM Committee;
•Mid May to Mid June – short informal consultation on policy boundaries for towns;
•25 July – Final Agreed Plan goes to Full Council;
•August to September – Consultation on Proposed Submission document. This is a legally required step where the plan is available for anyone to comment;
•Late 2012 – the plan and all comments received from the above stage are sent to the national Planning Inspectorate in readiness for examination;
•The examination of the plan will be in 2013 and adoption (assuming the plan is found to be sound) will be later in 2013.