Wyre Forest District Council is planning a summer of consultation on its Local Plan which includes proposals to accommodate its housing and employment needs up to 2034. The Preferred Options Consultation is part of the process the Council has to follow to eventually adopt a new Local Plan to replace the current one which was adopted in 2013. The process began with consultation in 2015 on the broad Issues and Options and will end when the Local Plan is adopted in early 2019.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is the document published by the Government setting out the national policies to guide the delivery of sustainable development and is the framework that Councils must follow to ensure that they are able to adopt their Local Plans. The Local Plan needs to look ahead for a period usually of at least 15 years and amongst other things, the Council has to plan positively for development in its area and particularly must meet the full objectively assessed need for market and affordable housing.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said:
“Having an adopted Local Plan for the district is essential for the Council to successfully direct development where it wants it to go and more importantly to resist hostile development where it doesn’t want to see it. The Council and its local communities undoubtedly face some difficult decisions about where to accommodate the district’s development needs and how to balance a commitment to protect the natural assets that make the Wyre Forest the beautiful place it is, with the need to ensure that there are enough job opportunities and mix of housing to meet the needs and aspirations of residents and businesses”
As part of the detailed evidence base supporting the amount of development that the Council needs to plan for, it has developed its Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN); this takes into account data from the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Communities & Local Government about matters such as household formation, migration and population growth in the district.
Councillor Ian Hardiman, Wyre Forest District Council Cabinet Member for Planning & Economic Regeneration said:
“Over the Plan period to 2034 we know that the Council needs to plan for the development of 300 new houses per year; clearly as much of that housing as possible needs to be undertaken on brownfield land within the district, but we know that regrettably not all of the housing needed can be accommodated on brownfield land and that therefore there are some difficult decisions to make about the release of a small amount of our Greenbelt to meet our needs. The Council remains committed to protecting our Greenbelt and it is anticipated that the proposals will involve around 2% of the land allocated for Greenbelt in the district.”
He went on to say:
“It is essential that everyone responds to this important consultation, the Council needs to hear from our residents, businesses and communities and their representatives to help to decide the best way of meeting our development needs and balancing that against protecting our important natural assets. The Council will be undertaking consultation events across the district over the summer and inviting people to respond. The Council needs to work positively towards an adopted local plan, but needs to achieve that by engaging with the public to help shape the right plan for the future.”
The Council’s Preferred Options consultation is due to be considered first by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 1June and then finally by the Cabinet on Wednesday 14 June with the consultation formally commencing straight after that and will run to the middle of August. More details about where consultation events are going to be held and how people can respond will be announced after the Wednesday 14 June meeting.