You will have received notification that the Huntingdonshire Local Plan 2036 has moved to the next stage of preparation, known as the publication of the plan ( Regulation 19). Last Wednesday night Full Council endorsed the publication of the plan and the system will have sent emails to you all at 9am on Monday morning highlighting that there is now a 7 week period for all interested parties to make representations on the ‘soundness’ of the plan. The portal will be open from 9am on the 18th of December until 17:00 on the 5th February. The consultation has been extended from 6 weeks to 7 weeks to allow for Christmas and we are not ina position to agree any extension of time for the submission of comments given the very tight timescale of the Local Plan.
What is ‘soundness’?
The Local Plan is sound if it meets all of the ‘Tests of Soundness’. The Tests of Soundness are that the plan:
· has been ‘positively prepared’;
· is ‘justified’;
· is ‘effective’; and
· is ‘consistent with national policy’
What is ‘legal compliance’?
The Local Plan is legally compliant if the Council has followed all the relevant requirements set out in relevant planning law and regulations for the production of development plan documents. Legal compliance issues include:
· Whether the Local Plan is in the Council’s Local Development Scheme;
· Whether consultation has been carried out in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement and meets the minimum requirements of relevant regulations;
· Whether the requirements of the relevant regulations, such as those relating to Equalities and Habitats, have been followed;
· Whether the requirements of applicable European Directives, such as the Habitats Directive, have been complied with:
· Whether a Sustainability Appraisal has been carried out assessing social, environmental and economic factors; and
· Whether the requirements of the Duty to Cooperate have been met. The duty to cooperate was created in the Localism Act 2011, and amends the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.
What happens next?
The plan will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by at the end of March along with all representations received pursuant to the Plan.
The service provider will be carrying out essential work to improve the reliability and performance of the Consultation Portal during the representations period. This work will, unfortunately, include a period when the portal is not available. This off-line period will start at 5pm on Friday 19 January 2018 and may last for up to 2 days.
The link to the Portal is attached – http://consult.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/portal/pp/hlp2036/lp2036_pro_sub