Steve Brine has urged local people to comment on the new Local Plan after Winchester City Council called for views on the 'soundness' of the document.
The Winchester District Core Strategy has recently been renamed as Winchester District Local Plan Part 1 – Joint Core Strategy. This reflects the changes in Government policy and the emphasis on localism and local plans, as well as the Joint ownership of the Plan by the South Downs National Park.
Work on the Local Plan Part 1 has been in progress since 2006 and, following extensive community engagement and technical evidence, has reached a stage where it is ready to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination.
Before the Examination the Plan is being published for representations to be made on whether the Local Plan Part 1 is 'sound'.
'Soundness' is a key test that the Local Plan Part 1 must pass before being adopted by the Council and covers the following specific matters:-
Justified – based on robust and up to date evidence
Effective – capable of being delivered and monitored
Consistent with National Policy
The period for comments on the soundness of the document will start on 25 January 2012, when the Plan and all supporting documents will be accessible on the Council's website at www.winchester.gov.uk/jointcorestrategy.
Everyone that has commented on the Core Strategy in the past will be notified of this stage and documents can be viewed, downloaded or responded to online. The papers will also be available for inspection at the City Council offices in Winchester and at the South Downs National Park Authority's offices in Midhurst.
Representations must be made by 5pm on Monday 12 March 2012 – late representations will not be accepted. All representations will be considered by the independent Inspector appointed to hold the Examination, before it starts in July 2012. The Inspector will decide which issues they wish to examine further and who they will want to invite to take part in the Examination.
Steve Brine said: "This is an important stage for our new local plan which is absolutely key for the future of the area. Whatever your view of the draft plan and even some of its controversial proposals, this process has been robust in giving residents every chance to comment.
"I would urge people with an interest in the local plan to respond as part of this process before it moves onto the next stage."