' Liberal Democrats want a Local Plan which will benefit all of Medway'
By Alan Wells Medway Liberal Democrats
Local Liberal Democrats want the aim of the Local Plan to set out how Medway will meet the unprecedented challenge of how to deliver the Government's required increase in new homes in the most sustainable way for our area. Importantly, we feel that the Local Plan must contribute to planning around our towns which is sustainable, consistent and sets out what the opportunities are for development and what types of development will and will not be permitted and in which locations.
'Local Plans are at the heart of the planning system and are the main consideration in deciding planning applications and set the framework in which decisions on particular proposals are taken locally. The law makes it clear that decisions on planning applications should be made in accordance (in line) with the policies and proposals within the development plan (which includes the Local Plan) unless other strong planning reasons or 'material considerations' indicate.' - QUOTE by 'Planning Aid England'
It is important as shown in the backlash of the closure of Chatham Docks and the Hoo Development (HIF) that the community is involved in the preparation of planning policies and proposals within the Local Plan at an early stage, and to influence how Medway will be developed in the future, we believe strongly in democratically accountable locally-led planning.
Medway Liberal Democrats believe that done well, our Local Plan would provide a vision for our towns for residents and investors alike. It should guide decisions on future development proposals and address the needs and opportunities of our towns, on housing, employment and shops. The Plan should identify where development should take place and areas where development should be restricted. A Plan providing a haven for nature and an asset in tackling the climate emergency and air quality around our towns. Liberal Democrats want a Local Plan which will benefit all of Medway.
John Castle, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said, "Time is of the essence for this Council to progress work on a new Local Plan. The Government has set a target for all councils to have an up-to-date Plan in place by 2023 and the Council has now got a fight on its hands to meet this target.
Currently Medway's planning system is not plan-led, and the protest at the St Georges Centre, shows the enormity of the impact of the lack of a Plan has had on Medway and the feasibility to deliver the current draft undermined.
Because this Conservative led Council has continually dithered and postponed, the absence of a Local Plan has given developers opportunities to gain permission for schemes that may have been refused if a robust Plan was in place. Until there is a Local Plan, there is a risk, planning decisions in Medway may well be decided by Government Planning Inspectors"
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Planning Aid England is part of the Royal Town Planning Institute, a charity registered in England (262865) and Scotland (SC 037841).
Head office: Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL.
To find out more about us or the RTPI, visit http://www.rtpi.org.uk/planningaid.