Statement of Community Involvement for Planning Draft Consultation - January 2020

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2. The Local Plan

2.1. The timetable for preparing the Local Plan and the documents associated with it is set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS). The LDS is kept under review and is available to view on the Council's website.

2.2. There are three types of local planning documents:

  • the local plan which includes the key policies which will guide development in the district and will be used in determining planning applications;
  • supplementary planning documents which provide more detailed advice or guidance in respect of adopted local plan policies; and
  • neighbourhood plans which are typically focused on a single parish and are prepared by the local community.

The stages of preparation for these documents are set out in the following sections.

2.3. Local Plans. There are a number of stages in preparing a local plan, a summary is set out in Table 1. There are opportunities for you to be involved in the preparation of a local plan, particularly in the early stages of preparation before the local plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for "examination". The Council is currently preparing a Local Plan which will include strategic policies, development management policies and land allocations.

Table 1: Stages of Plan Preparation

Stage of Plan Preparation

Commentary

Research

During the early stages of plan preparation, the Council will gather information and evidence about the area in order to understand the issues facing the District.

Consultation during these early stages may include detailed stakeholder consultations or wider more extensive consultations.

The Council will also assess the requirements of government guidance, other corporate strategies and technical information in order to put a draft document together.

We also have a duty to cooperate with local planning authorities and other bodies to consider the strategic issues which might be relevant to future development in North Hertfordshire.

Draft Plan

(Regulation 18)

A draft plan may be published to get some feedback from both the community and stakeholders. Any draft document would be made available for public consultation for a minimum period of six weeks, allowing written representations to be made. In some circumstances the consultation period may be extended if, for example, it coincides with a holiday period such as Christmas or Easter.

Any comments and feedback received during these consultation periods will be used in the preparation and revision of the development plan document before moving onto the next stages. The comments will be made available on the website.

At this stage the draft local plan will be subject to a Strategic Environmental Appraisal (SEA) and Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and further technical work maybe commissioned.

Publication

(Regulation 19)

A draft local plan document will be published for a formal consultation period. We will ask you for your written comments on the content of the documents subject to consultation.

At this stage the six week consultation period will be advertised and the documents circulated to all the statutory consultees. We will make the consultation documents available on our website and in local libraries.

At this stage, making comments or representations on the draft document becomes more formal. Representations can only relate to whether the policies and proposals in the draft local plan have been prepared in accordance with the Duty to Cooperate, the relevant legal and procedural requirements and whether the local plan is "sound".

Your comments will be published on our website. The Council will prepare a summary of the representations which will be presented to the Inspector at the examination.

Submission

(Regulation 22)

Once consultation has been completed, the document will be submitted to the Secretary of State (represented by the Planning Inspectorate) for independent examination. All the supporting background evidence, the SEA/SA and a statement of public involvement in the process will also be submitted for examination and made available on the council's website.

Examination

(Regulation 24)

An examination will be held by an Inspector, appointed by the Planning Inspectorate. The Inspector will examine the documents submitted and may ask the council for additional information before opening the formal examination. In some cases, an Inspector will hold a Pre-Hearing Meeting to explore the main issues.

The Council will appoint a Programme Officer who will be the point of contact with the Planning Inspector. The Programme Officer's details will be published on the Council's website.

The hearing sessions will be arranged with six weeks notice given in advance of the beginning of the hearings. Only those people who submitted representations at the publication stage (Regulation 19) are entitled to be heard at the examination, although third parties can be invited by the Inspector at their discretion.

The Inspector will assess the "soundness" of the plan and will prepare a report for the Council. That report will set out the Inspector's recommendations to the Council. The Council must then consider the report and the recommendations.

Adoption

(Regulation 26)

The Council will adopt the local plan as soon as practicable following consideration of the Inspector's report. The local plan will then become part of the statutory development plan for the District.

The documents will be published on the Council's website and all of those people who made representations will be informed.

Hard copies will be available to view at the Council Offices and may be available to purchase.


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