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Status of the District Plan

On September 11 the council was issued with a holding direction on the District Plan, which was due to adopted by the council later that day.

Below is:

  • an update from council leader Linda Haysey following a meeting with government officials on September 18
  • a statement from councillor Linda Haysey given immediately following the initial government announcement on September 11
  • some frequently asked questions concerning the holding direction and what it means in practice.

If there are any further questions or comments regarding this, please email the council at enquiries@eastherts.gov.uk

You can read the formal letter from the Secretary of State to the right.

 

From the leader - Sep 18

Council leader Linda Haysey and senior council staff met officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) this week.

Following the meeting Cllr Haysey said: "All the information that officials asked for has already been considered at the Examination in Public by the government's own inspector who found that the draft Plan was sound.  We are preparing a comprehensive document which provides all of this information for our colleagues at MHCLG.

"The whole of the district, with the exception of the Green Belt, is now at risk of speculative development, as a result of not having a Plan in place. We have seen what happens when development takes place in an unplanned way, and without the related infrastructure that the Plan would have ensured, such as schools, health facilities and transport.

"This is not a situation that should be welcomed by anyone who enjoys living in East Herts and values its green spaces. It is imperative that the holding direction is reversed as soon as possible."

 

From the leader - Sep 11

"At 2.15pm, the Director of Planning at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government notified the Chief Executive of East Hertfordshire District Council that the Secretary of State, Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP has today issued a holding direction under section 21a of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (inserted by section 145(5) of the Housing and Planning Act 2016) on the adoption of the East Herts District Plan, due to be adopted this evening.

"Accordingly items 9 and 10 are being withdrawn from tonight's Agenda, because this means we are currently unable to adopt the District Plan.

"I am, of course,  very disappointed with this decision both because it has been made at such a late stage in the process and also because the Plan was inspected by a senior and experienced planning inspector (appointed by the Secretary of State) and the Council has fully accepted all of her recommendations and suggestions.

"We remain confident in the soundness of the Plan and will work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to resolve any issues it has with the Plan. Due to the impact that this will have on the local and wider community and in view of the thorough examination of the Plan that has already taken place, we will encourage the Secretary of State to act expeditiously to avoid further uncertainty.  We are all too well aware of the speculative development that has taken place in parts of our district because of the lack of a 5 year land supply.  None of us want to be in that position again."

Linda Haysey, Leader of East Hertfordshire District Council

11.9.2018

 

District Plan Holding Direction - Frequently Asked Questions

1.         What is the purpose of a holding direction?

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gave the government a new power to issue a 'holding direction' in relation to a local plan. This means that a local plan cannot proceed any further towards being adopted by the Local Planning  Authority until the Secretary of State has decided whether or not to use his formal powers to 'call in' the plan for his own approval.

 

2.         Has the District Plan been 'called in'?

No. The holding direction gives the Secretary of State more time to consider whether or not to 'call in' the District Plan.

 

3.         Why has the Secretary of State issued a holding direction?

The Secretary of State has issued the holding direction following several requests to intervene in the District Plan, including from Stephen McPartland MP (Stevenage), the Hertfordshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Aston Parish Council, Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council, Thorley Parish Council, Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation and Protecting Aston's Community Existence (PACE).

These requests raise a number of issues including the proposed release of land from the Green Belt.

 

4.         How long can a holding direction be in place?

The direction will remain in force without time limit until the Secretary of State withdraws it or gives a direction under section 21 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase 2004 Act to 'call in' the Plan.

 

5.         What will happen if the District Plan is 'called in'?

            If the District Plan is 'called in', then section 21 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 sets out that the Secretary of State may approve, approve subject to modifications, or reject the Plan.

 

6.         What weight can be given to the District Plan whilst the holding direction is in force?

The Council has sought legal advice on the weight that can be assigned to the District Plan.  A document to which a holding direction under section 21A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (inserted by section 145(5) of the Housing and Planning Act 2016) relates has no effect while the direction is in force. Therefore no weight can be attributed to the District Plan whilst the holding direction remains in force.

 

7.         Does the Council still have a 5-year housing land supply?

 The Council has a 5-year housing land supply as set out in its Authority Monitoring Report 2016/2017. However, the 5-year housing land supply takes into account the sites identified in the emerging District Plan, which is now the subject of the holding direction.

 

8.         What is the Council doing to resolve matters?

The Council is working with officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to resolve any issues that they may have with the District Plan.

 

9.         With regards to any live appeals on the council's planning decisions, if they are heard whilst the holding plan remains in place, will the planning inspectorate have to ignore the Plan?

Yes. Any appeal decisions reached by the planning inspectorate whilst the holding plan remains in place will not be able to give the District Plan any weight. We are writing to the planning inspectorate outlining live appeals we consider to be a risk.