Local plan finally takes a step forward

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The High Peak’s controversial local plan is finally to be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination after being agreed by councillors following a heated debate.

Members of High Peak Borough Council approved the move on Tuesday night, despite concerns about projected housing numbers which some feared could leave the borough with more houses than are needed.

But Cllr Godfrey Claff said this would not be the case, explaining that if the projected housing numbers were significantly different once the plan had been submitted, the council could ask the inspector for a review.

“Should the inspector refuse we would withdraw the plan, remove sites, consult and then resubmit,” he added.

“If the household projections are very late and the plan has been approved we will recommend to councillors that they refuse to adopt the plan.

“I can assure members High Peak will not be building more houses than it needs but we do need to be moving towards adoption as fast as we can.”

Cllr Tony Ashton said: “What we have before us is a local plan for the High Peak and we are damned if it is approved and damned if it isn’t.”

And Cllr John Faulkner said: “We must not delay the submission of the local plan to the Secretary of State for examination by an inspector. I think that is absolutely vital.”

But Cllr Tony Kemp, said: “I can’t vote against the motion as more delay will only expose the High Peak to yet more uncontrolled development.”

Cllr Chris Pearson added: “Somewhere along the line we’ve got to take this forward so we have the ammunition to at least try to preserve what is left of the High Peak.”

And Cllr Stuart Young raised concerns over missing information in the report relating to transport links and other issues, commenting: “I’m sorry to say, I think this is a disgustingly poor report.”

The document will now go forward to the next stage with an examination hearing expected to start in November and possible adoption of the vital document, which will shape development across the borough until 2031, in spring 2015.