Core strategy revision

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A revised version of Fenland District Council’s “Core Strategy” will be going out to public consultation in July if it is approved by the council’s Cabinet on Thursday (June 21).

The draft strategy maps out a bold vision for the development of Fenland over the next 20 years. It envisages a minimum of 11,000 new homes and 7,200 jobs being created in the district by 2031.

The amended document is broadly the same as the first draft published last July. However, some changes have been made, partly in response to comments made in the previous consultation last year and partly to bring the strategy fully into line with the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published by the Government in March 2012.

One of the main changes required by the NPPF is to give a more definitive picture of where future housing developments will be built.

Significantly, the NPPF also gives greater weight to emerging local plans such as the Core Strategy when determining planning applications.

Previously, draft plans carried virtually no weight until they were adopted. Now, the NPPF makes it clear that emerging plans do carry some weight and that increases the closer a plan gets to adoption.

Councillor Kit Owen, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for neighbourhood planning, said: “This is good news. It means that our Core Strategy, if approved by the Cabinet next week, will immediately be able to inform and shape development proposals, resulting in greater opportunities in the scale and quality of both housing and economic growth in Fenland.”

If the amended document is approved by Cabinet next week, it will go out for a six-week consultation in late July.

The plans will then have to go through several more stages, including further consultation and an independent planning inspection before they are finally adopted. The changes required by the NPPF have extended the likely date for the strategy’s adoption to approximately November 2013.