Council to spend £170,000 to rewrite Joint Core Strategy
EAST Hampshire District Council is to spend upto £170,000 to make its much vaunted Joint Core Strategy fit for purpose.
The strategy is a government requirement and sets out how the council and the South Downs National Park Authority sees the area developing for the next 15 years, and covers topics such as business growth and housing.
In November an examination of the document by a government inspector was halted after he said it was unsound, as not enough homes and affordable housing had been included.
It is estimated up to 3,000 more houses than suggested were needed, as well as hundreds more affordable homes.
He also said it was unlikely 4,000 new homes planned for the Bordon eco town would be built in the life span of the strategy, and suggested if areas couldn’t meet housing quotas they should be built elsewhere in the district.
At an extraordinary council meeting last Wednesday (January 2) councillors debated the way forward for the document.
They heard a new planning policy framework had been agreed by the government when the strategy was almost finished, and that the government inspector said the document needed to reflect the new policy.
The new framework, introduced in April 2012, strongly encourages house building to generate economic growth.
A report presented to the meeting suggested it would cost about £170,000 to re-work the strategy document, thought to have cost £250,000.
District council leader Ken Moon said it was vital the document gained the inspectors approval.
He said: “The adoption of the strategy is a corporate priority for the council because it sets out the development and investment framework for East Hampshire.”
It is hoped by the autumn the government inspector will be able to restart the approval process, which in itself has cost £60,000 so far.
The resumed examination is likely to cost as much again.
South Downs National Park Authority members agreed at a similar meeting in late December to continue to work with EHDC on the strategy.
A council spokesman said: “Further work is planned, and councillors and national park authority members will be fully involved. Public consultation on the changes to the strategy is expected to happen in the late summer.”
The authorities will continue to promote the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the district, within the context of government policy, he said.
Those with queries about the strategy process can contact the Planning Policy team on 01730 234219 or email email@example.com
For information visit easthants.gov.uk/ehdc/planningpolicy.nsf/webpages/re+Strategy+Examination
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Saturday 07 December 2013
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