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Local Plan proposals near conclusion

Published on Wednesday, 30th May 2018 in Council news news

A plan providing details of where new housing and employment sites can and cannot be built across Rotherham is set to be agreed by councillors.

Following confirmation that it has been approved by the government’s Planning Inspector, Rotherham’s “Local Plan” – which is a legal requirement – will be the Council’s 15 year strategy to provide for future development needs for the borough. It sets out how many homes need to be built and allocates land that can then be developed for new properties and workplaces.

All plans must be agreed by the national Planning Inspector, and authorities who cannot produce their own plan face the possibility of it being imposed on them by central government.

Rotherham’s Cabinet is set to discuss the borough’s local plan with a recommendation for adoption at its meeting on June 11.

Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “Rotherham’s Local Plan will determine which sites may be developed over the coming 15 years – and it has been under consideration for more than a decade, including being shaped by several rounds of public consultation.

“Following the recent final approval from the government’s Planning Inspector, the council needs to formally adopt the Plan so that we can control sites for development, as well as making sure Rotherham can build the homes and businesses that residents will need.”

Minor amendments have been made to the plan since the most recent round of public consultation last year.

The plan is made up of two parts:

·       Core Strategy, which sets out the headline numbers and strategic policies. This was approved by a government inspector and adopted by the Council in 2014

·       Sites and Policies, which identifies individual sites for development and provides detailed policies to assess all proposed future development against.

The changes relate to the Sites and Policies part of the plan which deals with allocating land for homes and jobs in the borough. This was submitted to the government in March 2016 before being examined by the inspector.

As part of this process, the inspector considered all comments made on the plan and held a series of public hearings. The inspector took into account the Council’s evidence, along with all the submissions made, and concluded that some modifications were needed to the plan to make it sound. This included inserting the two additional housing sites in the Wath area into the plan.

Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment Damien Wilson added: “Our plan was agreed by government inspectors with minimal changes which shows confidence in our decision making processes.

“To reassure residents although a small proportion of the green belt is proposed to be released as part of this plan, we have kept this to an absolute minimum, totalling just three percent. This provides for the borough’s long term development needs and protects the new green belt boundary well into the future.”

He added Rotherham’s housing target allows for up to 900 houses to be built across the borough each year over the next 15 years. Developers had argued for a higher target which would have meant much more green belt being released but the inspector agreed with the lower target set by the Council.

The Local Plan proposed also identifies 36 potential sites for development for business or employment use, potentially contributing 21,000 new jobs in the borough over the fifteen year period.

Adopting the plan will bring into force the policies that will apply to planning applications – to ensure new development is sensitive to its surroundings and the wider environment. Important areas such as Conservation Areas, listed buildings and wildlife sites will be protected.

For more information on the Cabinet report visit:
https://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=1003&MId=14323&Ver=4

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