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Key Joint Local Plan concerns unresolved, say Mid Suffolk Green and Liberal Democrat group



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Concerns have been raised by district councillors over a Joint Local Plan for Mid Suffolk and Babergh.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils welcomed the decision last week for the Planning Inspectorate to allow their two-part plan - including social, economic and environmental objectives and then spatial strategy matters and housing allocations - to proceed.

However, the Green and Liberal Democrat Mid Suffolk Council group have raised concerns over a 'seriously delayed timetable and without crucial questions answered', including on how many homes will be built and where they will go.

Councillor Andrew Stringer. Picture: Mark Bullimore.
Councillor Andrew Stringer. Picture: Mark Bullimore.

Work on the Joint Local Plan began in 2016 when Mid Suffolk and Babergh began gathering a range of evidence to help inform its preparation, including studies on retail, economic land needs, housing land availability and housing market assessments.

Social, economic and environmental objectives will be put in place first, while remaining work on spatial strategy matters and housing allocations have been delayed and will be addressed in part two.

While the Green and Liberal Democrat group welcomed the Inspector's 'recognition of the work we have done to improve the environmental, social and economic policies within the Draft Plan', they said a year delay to the spatial strategy element of the Plan was 'not good' news for villagers.

Andrew Stringer, shadow portfolio holder for planning, said: “Much like our Prime Minister our Local Plan is in the last chance saloon.

“Many communities are rightly concerned that even further delays in knowing how many, and where, our future houses will be built will lead to ever-increasing houses being built in areas unplanned for mass development in an already overcooked local housing market.

“A claim of ‘promises upheld’ by Mid Suffolk’s Conservatives flies in the face of reality.

“Communities having confidence about how many homes they need to provide for, and where, is further away today than it was a year ago."