Have #YourSay on #YourFuture of #YourWestSuffolk
From today, residents across West Suffolk can have their say and shape the future of where new homes can be built and where employment growth may take place.
The West Suffolk Local Plan, which covers the period up to 2040 and will be used to decide planning applications, will guide where land such as countryside is protected as well as where development for new housing or land for employment can take place.
The local plan also contains the policies that will secure the delivery of affordable housing, new play areas, green public open space, health and education facilities, and transport provision.
But first the creation of a local plan must go through several stages of public consultation as set out by the Government. The West Suffolk Local Plan, which is still only a draft, has completed its first stage of public consultation to discuss the issues and options. This is the second round of consultation.
The first consultation, together with national guidance and emerging evidence, has led to a refined set of sites and policy parameters that the council is now seeking views on.
To get to this point some sites have been dismissed while others have been included and the Council is seeking feedback on both. As part of this consultation, the council is also carrying out a ‘call for sites’ to ensure it has explored all possible options before it concludes the sites selected for the final draft local plan, which is due to go out to consultation next year.
The document also includes policy parameters for how development will address climate change, increase biodiversity and aid people’s health and wellbeing including through homes that can adapt to support people’s changing health needs as they grow older.
In total, the Government has identified that 15,200 more homes will be needed in West Suffolk by 2040 to meet future housing needs. Some 8,600 of these already have planning permission which leaves land for at least 6,600 homes to be identified through the new local plan.
The preferred options stage includes land for 7,134 homes – this is because the Council must over allocate to provide a level of choice and certainty that it will meet its housing needs. The preferred options are made up of new sites as well as sites in the existing plans of the former St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District councils that are yet to gain planning permission, and which are now being reassessed as part of this new local plan. Of the land identified for the 7,134 homes, only 2,600 of these homes are on new sites that have been put forward.
The preferred options consultation will run to 26 July 2022 and residents can find out more and have their say by visiting our virtual exhibition at https://westsuffolk.exhibition.app/
They can also come along to any of our public exhibition events taking place in the following towns and villages below.
|Barrow village hall – main hall||Wednesday 8 June||3pm to 7pm|
|Brandon market||Saturday 9 July||9am to 1pm|
|Bury St Edmunds – The Apex||Saturday 11 June||10am to 4.30pm|
|Bury St Edmunds market||Wednesday 29 June||9am to 4pm|
|Clare market||Saturday 18 June||9am to 1.30pm|
|Haverhill market||Saturday 2 July||9am to 3pm|
|Ixworth village hall – main hall||Friday 24 June||3pm to 6.45pm|
|Kedington community centre – committee room||Friday 10 June||3pm to 7pm|
|Lakenheath Peace Memorial Hall||Thursday 30 June||3pm to 7pm|
|Mildenhall Hub||Saturday 25 June||9am to 4.30pm|
|Newmarket – The Guineas shopping centre outside the library and The Pantry||Tuesday 14 June||9am to 3pm|
|Newmarket – The Guineas shopping centre outside the library and The Pantry||Saturday 16 July||9am to 4.30pm|
|Red Lodge Sports Pavilion||Wednesday 22 June||3pm to 6.30pm|
|Stanton Village Hall – small hall/lounge||Thursday 16 June||3pm to 7pm|
Alternatively, residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org phone 01284 757368 to find out other ways that they can participate.
Cllr David Roach, Cabinet Member for Planning at West Suffolk Council said: “Having a local plan in place is vital. Without it, development will still happen, but our communities and the council will have less of a voice. Without it we won’t be able to prevent inappropriate, speculative development from taking place. Without it we can’t offer as much protection to greenfield sites and the countryside while there would also be fewer safeguards to stop employment land being used for housing. And we could well end up with other inappropriate garden, infill and other development that negatively impacts on communities.
“The local plan is crucial to meeting housing needs, so our communities have somewhere to live, that homes are built to good quality and are adaptable to support people’s changing health needs as they get older. It is also key to ensuring land is allocated for different types of businesses, supporting their ambitions and with it jobs and the future of our communities.
“That’s why it is important that people to have their say. It’s your future, your say, your West Suffolk.”
This consultation on the preferred options will lead to further changes to the draft local plan and will followed by another public consultation next year on the “submission” draft of the plan. Finally, the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State who will then appoint a Planning Inspector to carry out an independent examination – and it is only after the Planning Inspector has found the plan acceptable, that the local plan can be recommended to a meeting of the council to seek its adoption.
Alongside the public consultation, the Council is also issuing a further call for sites. This is because the last call for sites did not generate enough smaller housing sites of one hectare or less to comply with national Government policy, and to ensure a wide choice of employment sites to meet the demand established in an employment land review. The Council will also issue a call for sites specifically to identify land for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople. The Council has statutory duties and an assessment is being undertaken with some initial findings indicating accommodation needs.