A masterplan to build 35,000 homes and create more than 30,000 jobs between now and 2031 has been formally adopted.
The new Joint Core Strategy (JCS) for North Northamptonshire has been adopted by the Joint Committee representing the councils of Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough as well as the county council.
A Government-appointed Planning Inspector, Nigel Payne, undertook an independent examination of the JCS between July 2015 and June 2016.
This process included seven days of public hearings last November and further consultation on modifications which were proposed to address issues raised by the inspector.
The inspector concluded that the JCS meets all legal requirements and, subject to a number of modifications, is “sound” in relation to national requirements.
His report was considered by the Joint Committee yesterday (Thursday, July 14), when the JCS was adopted with the inspector’s modifications.
Cllr Andy Mercer of Northamptonshire County Council has been chairman of the Joint Committee for the past year.
He said: “I attended all the examination hearings and heard all the evidence presented.
“The inspector was thorough in testing all the data and submissions.
“He explored all the relevant issues, and impartially heard and assessed all the arguments.
“It is particularly pleasing that he has supported the focus of development on the four Growth Towns of Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Rushden and has endorsed our strong policies on design quality.”
“I step down as chairman of the Joint Committee with a feeling of deep satisfaction from a long and difficult job completed successfully.
!It’s been a pleasure and honour to work with such a dedicated and talented group of councillors and officers.”
The new chairman of the Joint Committee, Cllr Andrew Scarborough from Wellingborough Council, said: “I’d like to thank the committee and officers of the Joint Planning Unit for their hard work in preparing the JCS.
“It’s been a long and at times onerous task, but we have worked together to see the process through to a successful conclusion.
“The Joint Committee will now be turning its attention to preparing additional policy guidance to ensure that new development is of the highest quality possible.
“We will also continue to give North Northamptonshire an important voice in strategic planning issues.”
Head of the North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit Andrew Longley said: “Having an up to date Local Plan is very important as it provides the starting point for considering planning applications.
“It gives certainty to the private sector in investing in high quality development, supports investment in infrastructure, and helps the councils to resist speculative development proposals that are contrary to the plan.
“The adoption of the JCS ensures that we meet the Government’s target for all authorities to have an up-to-date Local Plan by 2017.
“It should also allow rapid progress to be made by the councils and neighbourhood planning groups on their more detailed plans.”