Doncaster Local Plan 'will take priority' as councillors question effectiveness of community planning referendums

Doncaster councillors have questioned how effective recent community planning policies will be after a senior officer said the impending Local Plan will take priority.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 6:55 am
Coun Jonathan Clarke, the Local Plan delivery officer

The issue was raised by Finningley councillor Steve Cox and Mexborough member Andy Pickering at a recent meeting discussing the Local Plan which has allocated a number of areas across the borough for housing and employment space.

The Local Plan, which every council has been told to adopt by central government, could provide up to 18,000 homes by 2035 in certain allocated areas for housing.

The plan itself was recently approved by a government planning inspector and the 400-plus page document is expected to be approved by councillors in September.

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Coun Steve Cox

But previous referendums in communities such as Tickhill, Armthorpe, Edenthorpe and Sprotbrough, were passed by residents to give people more control on what types of developments they would like to see.

Doncaster Council bosses said the Local Plan will take priority over neighbourhood plans but it would act to ‘pick up where the Local Plan’ does not cover.

Coun Cox said: “Overarchingly, what’s being said is the Local Plan will take precedence over the neighbourhood one.

“There’s a lot of neighborhood plans still emerging and I feel that we are at some point going to get something from different groups in communities that have built their plan together and say well we didn’t want that but we got this – because it’s in the Local Plan.

“It bewilders me sometimes about the need for extra bits – and this was the same with the Core Strategy and the UDP (Unitary Development Plan) – it’s been absolutely horrible to look at and gather some consensus within the policies that we had to work with.

“We will get some communities who worked on their neighbourhood plan which will say for example, we wanted employment in that area but that now has gone down as housing in the Local Plan.

“As long as we know where we all stand, we can take that forward.”

Jonathan Clarke, principal Local Plan delivery officer, said: “The government is very clear about the role of neighbourhood plans and why they do need to be in general conformity with strategic planning policies.

“They can’t block developments but they can plan for additional development and can start to take decisions around where developments should go locally.”

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