• Mary Breakell

11 March 2019 Newsbrief 48 CLOUD participation in Local Plan Hearings

The Planning Inspector has now issued the draft timetable for the examination hearings into the Lancaster Local Plan, together with the list of matters and questions he is going to address.  The Inspector has invited those (like CLOUD) who have previously submitted objections to the Plan to indicate at which sessions they would like to join the discussion he will be leading on these questions.

Here is the draft timetable for the 7 days of hearings.  You can see the full list of the Inspector’s matters and questions on the Council website for the Local Plan.

Day 1 Tuesday 9th April  - Legal and procedural matters.

Day 2 Wednesday 10th April - Housing Need

Day 3 Thursday 11th April - Housing Need (continued) and Spatial strategy

There is then a break over Easter

Day 4 Wednesday 24th April - Economic development

Day 5 Thursday 25th April - Heritage and natural environment

Day 6 Friday 26th April - Transport

Day 7 Tuesday 30th April - Environment

We have responded to the Inspector’s office listing the sessions CLOUD wishes to participate in.  These are:

Day 1  - we intend raising issues over public consultation.

Days 2 & 3  - Neil McDonald will be representing CLOUD on the issue of housing need and the Council’s house-building targets.   

Days 3 & 4 - Spatial strategy and economic development.  CLOUD will be raising issues about forecasts of jobs growth and infrastructure costs.

Day 6 - Transport - CLOUD will be concentrating on the issues we have previously identified about traffic flows from Bailrigg garden village, bus rapid transit etc.

Day 7 - Environment CLOUD will particularly focus on the issue of flooding and air pollution.

CLOUD’s Expert Consultant - Neil McDonald

At our last General Meeting, CLOUD members agreed that Neil McDonald should represent CLOUD at the examination hearings.  He will present detailed evidence that the Council’s forecast of future population growth in Lancaster is unrealistically high, resulting in excessively high house-building numbers.

We set ourselves the target of raising £2000 to cover the estimated cost of Neil’s appearance at the hearings.  Due to the generosity of CLOUD members we have already raised just over £1800 - many thanks to everyone who has contributed.  Unfortunately however our estimate of Neil’s costs has proved to be on the low side and we are now looking at a total of just over £2600.  This is made up of :

Time:  review of the Council’s responses and preparation of a response on Matter 2(a) plus attendance at the examination on Wednesday 10th April and the first part of the morning of the 11th : 4 days at £500 + VAT = £2400.

Travel: 2nd class return to Lancaster - £105.

Accommodation:  two nights bed and breakfast at the Lancaster Travelodge - £115.

Members of the CLOUD Management Committee have underwritten the shortfall in our funding so that, as stipulated in our constitution, there is no financial liability on CLOUD members  beyond the £1800 already contributed. We would however welcome any further donations towards the cost of this vital activity. Here are the CLOUD bank details:

Bank Cumberland Building Society

26-28 Cheapside, Lancaster, LA1 1LZ

Account Name CLOUD

Account No 54234823

Sort Code 16-52-21

Payments can be made by a variety of means : through online banking, or by bank transfer, quoting the appropriate CLOUD account details as at the top of this Newsbrief.  Cash and cheques can also be paid in at the Cumberland branch in Cheapside, Lancaster. Cheques should be made out to CLOUD.

Next Steps

The next step for the CLOUD Management Committee is to prepare hearing statements setting out the key issues we wish to raise in response to the Inspector’s questions.  If any CLOUD members have been involved in such examination hearings please contact us - we would welcome your advice on the best way to approach this important phase.

Attendance at Hearings

The examination hearings are open to the public, so all CLOUD members can attend as observers (but will not be allowed to speak).  This may prove to be an illuminating and interesting occasion, but in any case a good public attendance will help to reinforce the extent of residents’ objections to Bailrigg garden village.

Unsound Local Plans

There is a growing number of Local Plans with garden villages that have been declared UNSOUND by Planning Inspectors. This highlights how important Local Plan examination hearings can be and that it is not a foregone conclusion that the Lancaster plan will be approved. Do have a look at this to find out more http://www.cause4livingessex.com/blog-time-for-a-re-think-on-garden-towns/

Encourage friends and neighbours to join CLOUD

It’s never too late to join CLOUD.  If you have friends or neighbours who share your opposition to Bailrigg garden village please persuade them to join - and even to contribute to our funds!  Joining CLOUD is very straightforward - see our website for details.

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