We're consulting on the latest stage of our Local Plan review

We're consulting on the latest stage of our Local Plan review

 Published: 22-Oct-2020

We are embarking on a seven-week consultation on our Local Plan Core Strategy, the document that shapes how development in the Borough will look in the coming years.

The Local Plan Core Strategy is an important strategic document which guides how the Borough should develop between now and 2036.

It shows residents and businesses the amount of development needed and where this should take place. It also acts as a guide when making decisions on planning applications on a day-to-day basis.

The current Local Plan Core Strategy was adopted in September 2014 and the Government requires local councils to review their Local Plan every five years.

Cllr Brian Sangha, Gravesham Borough Council Cabinet Member for Strategic Environment, explained: “Our most recent review of our Local Plan Core Strategy has identified that while the bulk of it is still relevant, particular elements of a number of policies, such as those that relate to the amount of development needed in the Borough, have become out of date.

“Because of this, we are required by Government to update the strategy as soon as possible. This is not an option, it is a legal requirement.”

We have considered representations received during an initial public consultation held in December 2018 and gathered additional information to determine the amount of development needed in the Borough to 2036 and where it could take place.

We are now seeking the views of residents, businesses and other interested parties on how to positively plan for the Borough’s future needs, and on the policies we use to determine planning applications.

Cllr Sangha added: “Every local authority is set targets by Government for the numbers of new homes it has to build in a set period of time, and the Local Plan has to show that we have identified sufficient suitable sites to meet our target.

“We cannot hide away from this. If we fail to meet the targets set there are penalties we could face, including having those targets increased and ultimately having planning decisions taken away from us and given to Government inspectors to make.

“I don’t want our residents to lose their ability to have their views heard and taken into account when planning decisions are being made.

“The potential development sites identified in the consultation are not set in stone and may change. The identification of a potential site at this stage does not mean that development will happen there in the immediate future – or even at all.”

Current Government guidance is that local plan reviews should not be delayed as a result of Covid19 and that online engagement should be used to help reduce the spread of the virus. This means we are unable to hold public consultation events in person.

Instead, we are encouraging people to visit our consultation portal to find out more and to submit their views.

“It is important that as many people as possible take part in this consultation so their views can be carefully considered as we take our review forward,” said Cllr Sangha. “Now is the time to make sure your voice is heard.“

Find out more and have your say at https://localplan.gravesham.gov.uk

For those without access to a computer or the internet, you may be able to book a computer terminal at Gravesend Library by visiting www.kent.gov.uk/libs. These remain available during lockdown.

The consultation ends at 5pm on Thursday 31 December.

 Last updated: 10-Nov-2020