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Local Plan moves closer to adoption with independent inspectors' approval

The St Helens Borough Local Plan could move closer to adoption at a special meeting of the Cabinet next week (Thursday 30 June), as members consider the final version.

Article date: 22 June 2022

This version includes the main modifications recommended by independent Planning Inspectors who, with the inclusion of these modifications, consider the plan 'sound' in accordance with national policy. The main modifications do not fundamentally alter the plan and the key elements remain the same. 

Prior to this, the Local Plan Submission Draft was submitted to the Secretary of State in October 2020 for independent examination. Two independent Planning Inspectors were appointed to undertake the examination and public hearing sessions were held in May and June 2021. 

After considering all the evidence and feedback from a series of extensive consultations, the Inspectors advised the council of the main modifications required to make the plan sound - an entirely routine part of the examination process. 

A public consultation on these proposed main modifications was then held between November 2021 to January 2022.  

Following consideration of the consultation responses, the Inspectors have now issued their final report into the Local Plan examination together with the required main modifications. 

Among the final modifications, inspectors recommended extending the timeframe of the plan to ensure a 15-year period post-adoption - meaning the end date of the plan will change from 2035 to 2037. 

A detailed list of the main modifications can be viewed at www.sthelens.gov.uk/localplan.

As a result of their detailed consideration and testing of the plan and keeping in mind all the representations made and evidence before them, the Inspectors concluded that the plan is sound with the inclusion of their modifications. 

If Cabinet approves the Local Plan will then go to a meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday 12 July.

In reaching this stage our Local Plan has gone through a very thorough public process, involving extensive engagement with residents and a wide range of partners and stakeholders. 

"Independent inspectors have concluded that our process was robust and that with the addition of their modifications, the plan is sound and ready to be adopted. Indeed, their feedback has helped us to strengthen the plan in several areas, most notably with the recommendation to include bespoke policies for the Bold Forest Garden Suburb and Parkside West site allocations."

"Created with and for our borough to meet our future employment and Government-required housing needs, this plan sets out our ambitions to create jobs, build a mix of high quality, affordable homes and shape infrastructure investments utilising brownfield first and foremost."

- Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning.