Media release - issued 06 Feb 2018

Milestone for new Rushmoor Local Plan

Work on preparing a new Rushmoor Local Plan - the planning framework to guide future development in Aldershot and Farnborough for the next 15 years - has reached a significant milestone.

Following public consultations on previous drafts of the plan in the summers of 2015 and 2017, the council has considered all comments received and, on Friday 2 February, it was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate to be independently examined.

The submission of the Local Plan marks the beginning of a process where an independent inspector will look at the issues raised by those who commented on the plan and consider the council's response.  Since the close of consultation in the summer of 2017, the council has worked with many of those who made objections to the plan, and where possible, has suggested changes to address these.

For example, the council has worked with Natural England to resolve its objection to the Local Plan because it felt that the council had failed to identify enough Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to accommodate the expected new development in the borough. However, with the identification of capacity to mitigate around 2,500 new homes made possible by the council's cabinet decision in December 2017 to convert Southwood Golf Course into a new SANG, it has withdrawn its objection. The inspector will consider all these sorts of matters, alongside the evidence used to prepare the plan.

Inspector Louise Gibbons BSC (Hons) MRTPI has been appointed by the Planning Inspectorate to conduct the examination, and the precise date for the opening of any formal hearing part of the examination into the Local Plan will be decided by the Inspector. These hearing sessions will be open for the public to watch, although only those who made comments during the consultation in summer 2017 will be able to speak at the hearings at the invitation of the Inspector.   

A dedicated web page on the council's website, where the progress of the examination can be followed, will be available on the The Rushmoor Plan web pages.

After gathering views from all those attending the hearing, the inspector will draft a report for the council which will give recommendations on what changes should be made to finalise it. It is hoped that the council will be able to adopt the new Local Plan towards the end of the year.

Councillor Martin Tennant, Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Environment and Service Delivery, said: "Submitting the draft Local Plan is a really important step for us.

"We know that the inspector will cast a critical, but constructive, eye over the plan and that those who have asked to appear will have their chance to make their voices heard on this too. But finalising our Local Plan will give us a clear direction for development in the borough until 2032. This will enable us to push ahead with town centre regeneration and to provide some much-needed new homes for our growing borough."

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