centra lancs local plan cover p

The councils are pressing on, despite the possible abolition of housing targets. Credit: consultation papers

Next stage for Central Lancs local plan

Preston, Chorley and South Ribble’s local authorities are seeking input as they look to update their joint housing strategy, with consultation set to run for 10 weeks.

Each of the three councils’ December meetings were shown the preferred options paper as it stands, being asked to approve consultation on part one of a two-stage process examining those preferred options.

Uncertainty surrounds housing policy as a whole following a speech from housing secretary Michael Gove that questioned the desirability of housing targets – something that has thrown some high-profile regional policy aims into doubt.

However, the Lancashire councils need to update their existing policies to comply with existing requirements: their shared core strategy is more than a decade old and each of their local plans not far behind.

A 10-week consultation started on Monday 19 December, asking people for their views on proposed sites for homes, business developments, transport networks and open spaces across the three council areas.

Cllr Paul Foster, leader of South Ribble Council, said: “We know how important it is for residents that any new development is done in a planned way that ensures the right infrastructure is in place.

“The current process by which the government calculates housing targets is flawed and means we have to build more houses than we think is right but it is important we have a local plan in place to prevent developers just cherry picking sites across our borough.

“Development is important because it gives our children and grandchildren homes to live in, in the future, spaces for business to grow and create new jobs and all that supports our local economy, but it has to be done in a sustainable way.”

A stage one issues and options consultation ran between November 2019 and February 2020, the pre-cursor to this stage.

The consultation documents and policies maps for each of the three boroughs can be found online.

Responding to the hinted-at rethink from central government, Cllr Foster continued: “It was refreshing to hear that the government is finally listening to us and looking again at how it calculates housing targets but it is right we continue with making a plan because there is no guarantee the government will go ahead with its proposals and to date we have no real detail of what may change.”

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