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Inspector approves South Wiltshire Core Strategy

October 18, 2011 10:54 AM

A government inspector has approved Wiltshire Council's planning strategy for the old Salisbury District.

The South Wiltshire Core Strategy (SWCS), which sets out long-term planning and development aims and principles for the south of the county, was subject to an Examination In Public (EIP). Hearings concluded in August this year.

The council revised the strategy after the government announced its intention to revoke regional spatial strategies, which included housing figures imposed by central government.

The intention to abolish RSSs enabled WC to revise the housing numbers for Wiltshire based on evidence including feedback from extensive public consultation. For South Wiltshire this meant a reduction from 12,400 to 9,900 new homes by 2026, of which around 3,400 have already been built or have planning permission.

Cabinet member with responsibility for economic regeneration and spatial planning Fleur de Rhe Philipe said: "Unlike many local authorities, when the Government announced its intention to abolish regional spatial strategies we took the decision to move forward, work with local people and submit a revised plan - we were determined to have a clear plan in place which allows appropriate growth where it is needed. The Inspector's report shows the council's decision to continue to plan positively was the right one.

"We shall continue to work with communities to support businesses, help create jobs and provide homes, ensuring development is managed so Wiltshire's beautiful countryside is protected. This strategy will enable south Wiltshire's communities to remain vibrant places to live and work."

The SWCS will now go to Full Council for formal adoption early in the New Year. However, as the Inspector's report is binding it will now inform decisions on planning applications.

The Inspector's report is at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planninganddevelopment/planningpolicy/southwiltshirecorestrategyexamination/southwiltshirecorestrategyreview.htm

The Inspector sets out a number of changes that need to be made to the draft Core Strategy submitted at the start of the examination. Most of these changes are based on proposals put forward by WC in response to points raised and suggestions discussed during the public examination and, in particular, the revisions to the Core Strategy the Council made in response to its review of housing and employment requirements. There are no substantive changes outside of those put forward by the Council.

The changes can be summarised as follows:

. To reduce the levels of housing and employment from those put forward in the Submitted Core Strategy to those in the Review Core Strategy.

· To delete the Strategic Site Allocations south of Netherhampton Road and part of the Strategic Site Allocation at Longhedge and show these as reserve sites.

· To make clear that Housing Policy Boundaries, Housing Restraint Areas and Special Restraint Areas will be reviewed as part of the Wiltshire Core Strategy.

· To make reference to the Options Assessment Report prepared as part of the Transport Strategy and to its conclusion that the 'Radical Option' would best enable Salisbury to address future growth in travel demand.

· To set out more accurately the way in which progress in developing the Strategic Allocations will be monitored and managed.

· To introduce clarity and flexibility into the affordable housing policy.

The next stages for the SWCS are:

· Officers will prepare the final version incorporating the amendments made during the course of the examination as accepted/recommended by the Inspector and other documents necessary for adoption of the plan.

· Report to Cabinet and Full Council to formally adopt the Plan. This is anticipated to be in the new year January/February 2012.

· Inspector's report and adoption documents to be placed on the WC website and at deposit points.

· Adoption statement published in the press, to include notification of a 6 week period for legal challenge.