Cllr Seán Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council, set out Fareham Borough Council's position regarding its Draft Local Plan yesterday.
Speaking at the Executive Meeting of the Council, Cllr Woodward said: "In July of this year the Government introduced changes to National Planning Policies and Guidance. It is now consulting on further changes to those changes. As a result the Council needs to revise its Draft Local Plan, a decision which, regrettably, will cause continuing uncertainty for local communities throughout the Borough.
"The Government has made it clear that it wishes to achieve its goal of delivering 300,000 houses per annum nationally. The changes already made to National Planning Policies and Guidance along with those further changes now proposed, will undoubtedly further increase the number of houses the Borough of Fareham will be required to accommodate. This means additional greenfield sites for housing will need to be identified over and above those proposed previously in the Draft Local Plan. To avoid confusion this means the new Draft Plan will build on documents already published in support of the previous Draft Local Plan which remain relevant. There remains ongoing uncertainty over the precise higher number of houses required by the Government, which this Council currently anticipates is unlikely to be resolved until the first quarter of next year.
"It is evident from the new National Planning Policies and Guidance that the Government expects local authorities to work together to deliver these higher housing requirements, especially where some authorities are unable to meet these, through developing a joint approach. There will be important strategic issues associated with future growth that affect a number of authorities, such as provision of infrastructure, for which local authorities need to seek a joint approach, carefully balancing all the economic, social and environmental issues. The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) has therefore agreed to work together to produce a Statement of Common Ground on these strategic issues as soon as possible and to start exploring how the authorities could produce an Infrastructure Investment Plan to support future growth.
"We are aiming to take a report to the February Executive to update the Council's Local Plan Timetable to reflect the implications of these Government changes. In the meantime, the Council will consult on the issues and options relevant to the progression of our new development strategy in the spring because the number of additional houses now required is potentially character-changing for the Borough. This will be prior to producing a new Draft Local Plan for consultation by the end of next year. Special editions of Fareham Today will promote both stages and be delivered to every home in the Borough.
"With the challenge of new and further changes to National Planning Policies and Guidance, the Council intends to take the Local Plan Review through the new Planning and Development Scrutiny Panel and then on to the Executive."
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The Communications Team, Tel: 01329 824310
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