An updated local plan for Northampton that will determine how land in the area is used for planning purposes is expected to go out for public consultation later this year.
A paper on Part 2 of the Local Plan is set to go to the borough council’s cabinet in Spring before the six-week public consultation.
The council is legally bound to provide an updated version of the original Northampton Local Plan, which was adopted in 1997. The second and updated plan will set out the vision, objectives and strategic policies for delivering growth for the borough up to 2029.
The news was confirmed at the full council meeting of the borough on Monday (March 11).
Questions were raised on the issue by Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors Brian Markham and Les Marriott respectively, with the duo asking for an update on the progress of putting together the plan.
Responding to Councillor Markham, the deputy cabinet member for planning Councillor James Hill said: “The current situation is that the Local Plan Part 2 will be brought to cabinet in late spring for approval for public consultation over a six week period. The results of this consultation will be used to inform the submissions version of the plan, which will be brought back to the council for approval to submit to the secretary of state in late 2019.
“The plan would then be subject to an examination in public, the timing of which is not within the control of the borough council.”
As well as identifying where new development will go, the Local Plan would also set out policies to protect open space, green infrastructure, heritage and environmental assets.
Part 2 of the Local Plan would replace the remaining saved policies from the Northampton Local Plan (1997), and consider whether some of the policies of the Central Area Action Plan need to be updated.
It will also complement the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy Local Plan (Part 1) which was adopted in 2014, and also sets out its vision up until 2029.
Ahead of the likely move to unitary authority status next year - which would see the borough and district councils in the west of the county merge - Daventry and South Northamptonshire have already produced draft Local Plans of their own for submission.
In his written question to cabinet member Councillor Tim Hadland, who is responsible for regeneration, Councillor Marriott said: “Given that NBC is due to be encompassed into an unwelcome western unitary, why has this plan not been completed yet? As the other authorities have completed theirs this failure will undoubtedly place Northampton at a disadvantage.”
But Councillor Hadland responded: “The borough council has had to review its Local Plan Part 2 timetable on several occasions, particularly in light of ongoing housing delivery when compared against the Core Strategy trajectory, which has delayed the drafting of the Plan.”