Government Inspector Examination of the Local Plan

The local plan was examined by the Government Inspectorate during April- June. I made 3 resperesentations in person to speak on behalf of Saxon Shore, and also sent written representations prior to the examination begin.

Whilst we await the full Inspector report, summary findings have been reported and can be found on the Council website.

I am very pleased to report that the inspector has taken note of the concerns that myself and others, including Terry Ransley from Bonnington, have raised about Policies HOU3a and HOU5. The inspectors have heeded the representations made that these policies are not fit for purpose in their current form and the Council now need to amend the Policies. This is vital for future development in Saxon Shore, as these 2 Policies will form the basis on which many future developments are based. The inspectors consider as I argued, that small villages cannot reasonably be considered equal to larger ones, and that in very small villages, even infill might be difficult within the parameters of the policy. This is a huge step forward to protecting areas such as Hastingleigh, Bilsington etc from uncontrolled development.

In terms of fighting the proposed developments, I am pleased to announce that representations Brook Parish Council and myself have meant that the Inspector agrees that the proposed development would be harmful in its current scale and have decreed that only a lineal development would be appropriate. This is monumental and Brook representatives who took the time to present to the Inspectorate can be very proud of this achievement.

In my representations about Aldington, I spoke about the damage to the views of the Church and Countryside, and again the Inspector agrees that any development permitted, should not damage this vital aspect of Aldington Quality of life and heritage. This is key, as it means future windfall development on the site, would be severely inhibited, as it would undoubtedly affect the view.

The initial summary, does however suggest that housing numbers need to be revised upwards, to better serve London overspill, so we will need to wait for the full report.

We can expect the report to be before the end of the summer and the Local Plan to be adopted by year end.

https://www.ashford.gov.uk/media/6555/id-10-alp-inspectors-post-hearing-advice.pdf