Update from the chair of Fawkham Parish Council:
As you may be aware, the Planning Inspector has cancelled the second series of Local Plan Hearing Sessions, as she has significant concerns about a number of aspects of the Plan, both in terms of legal compliance and soundness. Her main concern is around the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring authorities on the unmet housing need. The Inspector also has significant concerns about the soundness of the Plan in a number of areas including the approach to Sustainability Appraisal, the chosen Strategy for Growth, the assessment of the Green Belt and housing supply and distribution.
Her letter to SDC can be read here (ED37): https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/downloads/file/2523/ed37_inspectors_letter_to_the_council_following_the_stage_1_hearing_sessions_17_october_2019
Sevenoaks District Council has written to the Inspector asking her to explain the reasons behind her decision while expressing concerns about the impartiality of the examination process. Sevenoaks District Council’s Local Plan is the first to be assessed under a new planning framework and is likely to impact on following Local Plans across the country.
You can read SDC’s statement here: https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/info/20069131/local_plan_examination/483/local_plan_hearings_cancelled
SDC’s response of 21st October to the Inspector’s letter can be read here (ED38 and ED38A): https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/info/20069131/local_plan_examination/447/news_and_updates
It should be noted that the Inspector is preparing a further letter setting out her concerns in more detail and will not reach any final conclusions on the way forward for the Examination until she has considered SDC’s response to that letter. However, she has stated that she considers the most appropriate way forward at this point would be for the Council to withdraw the Local Plan from Examination.
We will keep you updated once further information is available and the way forward becomes clearer,
Chair, Fawkham Parish Council