On the day the Government publishes its housing white paper, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council publishes the first results of a consultation on its Draft Local Plan.
While the Government is reviewing the national housing policy the Council is still required to operate under the current government rules which set out how Local Authorities must develop their Local Plans.
The Council’s Draft Local Plan, which has been open for consultation for nine weeks, sets out proposals for how the 11,000 new homes needed in the Borough could be met by a combination of the delivery of the 7,800 homes that already have planning permission and the development of 15 allocated housing sites in the Draft Plan.
But a nine-week public consultation, which ended last month, has seen 28 developers and landowners submit a further 40 sites they consider suitable for development.
Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “We already have a Draft Local Plan that sets out how the demand for housing can be met in a sensible and sustainable way across Stockton-on-Tees Borough.
“We’ve made it clear that the majority of the homes needed to meet the target can be delivered on sites where planning permission already exists, and identified a number of sites – such as Wynyard and West Stockton – on which the rest could be built.
“But predictably after the nine-week public consultation on the document, the response from developers and landowners has been overwhelming – there is an enormous appetite from developers and landowners to build more housing in our Borough and that appetite extends way beyond the 15 sites identified in our draft document. We would like to see developers build on the land they own and where they already have planning permission rather than suggesting new sites.
Councillor Cook added: “We are doing all we can under the current rules to develop a new plan but we fully understand that residents and businesses feel frustrated because the government prescribed process to produce the plan is so lengthy. After the initial consultation on the draft plan we are now faced with assessing the viability of all of the new sites submitted. This will cause anxiety and uncertainly for local people rather than letting us move on quickly to confirm the draft plan which already meets the Borough’s needs.”
The Council will spend the next six months assessing the viability of all of the sites submitted before publishing a second Draft Local Plan for consultation this summer. The current timetable would then see it submitted to government by the end of 2017.
Once submitted, the process will be led by government but it is hoped that this would be followed by examination in public in Spring 2018 and formal adoption in Summer 2018.
A summary of the sites consulted on in the draft Local Plan and the new sites proposed by developers and landowners during the consultation, visit www.stockton.gov.uk/localplan