We last reported in April on the Stevenage Local Plan. Since then the main development has been the publication on 12th June 2017 by Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) of amended documentation. The amendments have arisen following the Hearings which took place between January and March 2017. We have until 24th July 2017 to return comments to SBC relating to these amendments. This documentation is available on the SBC website. At first sight the amendments appear to be fairly minor but the FoFC Committee will be reviewing them and returning comments as appropriate. We would urge you to do the same. Below is a link that can be used to access the main revised SBC Plan but there are other similar links for example for the Sustainability Report and for other documents. 

http://stevenage-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/ppolicy/local_plan/stevenage_borough_local_plan_proposed_main_modifications

 

The timetable for the passage of the Plan is below. We will be asking SBC for updates during September 2017.

Item

DESCRIPTION

APPROX DATE

1

Plan including agreed amendments to go to Inspector following conclusion of Hearings which took place from January to March 2017

7th April 2017

2

Inspector considers the updated Plan and agrees any further modifications before returning it to SBC for issue for further public consultation. 

 

3

SBC issues the Main Modifications Plan for further public consultation – 6 weeks.

12th June 2017

4

Public consultation finishes

24th July 2017

5

SBC then re-issues Plan with comments to the Inspector

Late July or early August

6

Inspector returns Plan to SBC as “accepted” “accepted with minor modifications required” or “accepted with major modifications required”.

During September 2017

- with the proviso that the Inspector does not consider that further hearing sessions are needed.

7

SBC Executive formally accept or reject the Inspector’s findings before obtaining a full Council mandate for their decision.

End December 2017

8

If this mandate is given implementation could then commence.

 

As you know Committee members of Friends of the Forster Country were present at seven of the Hearings and spoke with varying degrees of success at all of these. In particular, Michael Jefferis who is a senior London barrister carried out a huge amount of background work and represented us at four of the Hearings. In all his and his junior barrister’s services cost a little under £20,000 and this bill has been settled. The FoFC Committee is of the opinion that the barrister’s work was of a very high quality indeed and that we could not have done better bearing in mind the huge forces engaged by SBC in support of the Plan. The Committee are also aware that Michael carried the work partially on a pro bono basis and we are extremely grateful for this. We wish to thank all those who supported the work by generous donations, whatever the outcome. We feel that in addition to FoFC members, the general public living in the vicinity of Forster Country are indebted to those who so willingly supported the opposition to building there out of their own personal resources. 

Once we have presented our comments on the revised Plan we will be in the position of waiting for the next stage which for us will be in September. We will update the website with the essence of our comments in due course. 

Linked to the Plan, we are pursuing separately the possibility of brown field sites over and above those identified by SBC. In particular this applies to the Icon Building on the northwest corner of the junction of Fairview Road and Lytton Way. Although SBC had knowledge before the commencement of the Hearings that this is a site for possible residential development for between 600 and 700 dwellings it was not included as part of the Plan. We intend to write in the first place to the Inspector about the fact that this exclusion does not appear to accord with the recent Government white paper on housing. If this falls on “stony ground” we will take it up with our local MPs and with Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).

 

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