Local Plan – Tory Minister criticises Tory delays in submitting plan

Tories have been mired in Local Plan controversy

A government Minister is threatening to take over the preparation of the Local Plan for York.

Good luck with that then.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on  research projects and consultation. The last thing a northern City needs is the dead hand of London government interfering at the last minute.

York had a perfectly good draft Local Plan ready to submit for final approval in February 2011. Then a new administration was elected and new Council Leader James Alexander unveiled his “Big City” proposal which would have seen York increase in size by 25%.

Large areas of Green Belt land would have been developed

Few wanted that, so, not surprisingly, 4 years later his high growth based Local Plan was ditched before it even made it to a public enquiry.

Residents protest against Labour’s Local Plan in 2013

The latest plan – which still has elements of controversy – was almost ready when central government announced that it was closing two barracks in the York area. That potentially released a large amount of additional building land into the pool. The Council could not ignore that change and has spent 12 months agonising about how to react to the news.

Tory housing numbers plan 2015 election manifesto

If they had ignored the change, then objectors would have rubbished the plan for being incomplete.

Yes maybe the Council  should have moved along a little quicker but final consultation on the latest plan ended on 31st October so there is nothing to stop an “Examination in Public” now being scheduled.

Far from speeding up the process, it is more than likely that any intervention by central government will result in further delays.

The Council has now said that it will follow this timetable

Timetable for delivery:

Sep / Oct 2017             Consultation over pre-publication draft of Local Plan

Jan 2018                      Publish results of Local Plan, which go to the Local Plan Working Group and the council’s Executive

Feb-March 2018          Consultation on final version of the Local Plan

May 2018                     Submission to Secretary of State

York Liberal Democrats have responded to Minister’s Local Plan statement

Today, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that he will be starting the formal intervention process in our Local Plan.

The Liberal Democrats do not share the same views expressed by the Secretary of State; that York has ‘failed to cooperate’ on its duty to provide local development schemes. 

In reality, we have been working tirelessly over the last few years to create a Local Plan that is right for the City of York, a plan that provides the homes and opportunities we need to grow our city, whilst protecting its unique heritage. 

Unfortunately, as we approached the final stages of setting our Local Plan, the Ministry of Justice announced the closure of three barracks in the City.  As a result, we re-consulted on the Local Plan and set back the process by 6 months, in order to absolutely ensure the people of York had the opportunity to have their say.

It is essential to the future development of York that our Local Plan is determined by local people, not forced upon us by central government.  The Conservatives and the Cities MPs should stand up for York and not allow Government to dictate the future of our City.  The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose outside interference and deliver a local plan for the City.

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