Mexborough councillor Sean Gibbons jokes long-awaited Local Plan is ‘like Brexit’ but the scheme is on the way

Sean Gibbons of Mexborough First
Sean Gibbons of Mexborough First

A councillor has jokingly compared the long-awaited Doncaster Local Plan to ‘being like Brexit’.  

Mexborough First councillor Sean Gibbons said the Local Plan, which sets out new potential development space for housing and business while setting concrete planning policies was ‘going on forever’. 

The plan will set out development need for the next 15 years and replace the 1998 Unitary Development Plan and 2012 Core Strategy.

It’s understood council bosses are aiming to make the documents public to residents at a special meeting on Thursday, June 6. 

Another councillor said the whole process had been an ‘absolute shambles’. 

Local Plans are currently being discussed by councils across the country – many have caused controversy over proposed developments on green belt land and the scale of new homes. 

Coun Gibbons said: “This whole process has been like Brexit – it’s been a long drawn out process. 

“We’ve had a number of concerns and it’s suffered a lot of delays. I appreciate this is a massive piece of work and has kept the governance team very busy but I think it could’ve been handled better.”

The independent councillor said the secret plans were initially not allowed to leave the Civic Office and criticised the authority after claiming Labour councillors were briefed on the Local Plan some 10 days before opposition members. 

Scott Cardwell, assistant director of development, said: “We held a comprehensive public consultation on the Local Plan in autumn 2018 and the views of more than 1,200 people have been considered in the draft document which is going through our internal approval process.

“It has to be discussed by local councillors in private at this stage as it contains commercially sensitive information linked to potential developments.

“Once through this part of the process it will be published as a proposed document for consideration by Cabinet and after that at Full Council.  This should take place shortly and at that point the Local Plan will be in the public domain. 

The Local Plan will also be considered in an open forum at the examination in public stage, which will also be open to members of the public.”