On 20th October, a proposed Main Modification that Bury officers have been leading on was agreed with the Executive Director of Place, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Strategic Growth and Skills and the Director of Law & Democratic Services. The proposed modification is in response to a supplementary question to the GMCA as part of the Examination in Public process and is intended to provide greater clarity as to the role of district local plans in relation to allocating land from the district’s existing land supply in meeting the spatial strategy and distribution of development set out in the PfE plan.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Growth and Skills, presented the report which sought approval to delegate authority to agree to potential modifications to the Submitted Places for Everyone Plan Joint Plan 2021 (PfE) as may be considered necessary during the PfE Examination and to the content of any Statements of Common Ground that may be considered necessary to aid the Examination process.
In response to Members’ questions it was noted that it was ultimately up to the Planning Inspector to determine whether the Plan was sound, but we believe it is and that the changes being put forward would keep the Plan sound. It was noted that public consultation would be carried out in the best way possible, with the Council remaining transparent about how, why and when decisions were being made.
1. Delegated authority to the Executive Director of Place, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Strategic Growth and Skills and the Director of Law & Democratic Services, to agree proposed Main Modifications to the Places for Everyone Joint Plan 2021 as may be necessary to meet the tests of ‘soundness’ defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (2021) (or any equivalent following the amendment or revocation thereof); and the relevant statutory requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (or any equivalent Regulations following the amendment, re-enactment or revocation thereof);
2. Delegated authority to the Executive Director of Place to propose any minor modifications to the Places for Everyone Joint Plan 2021, as may be necessary; and
3. Delegated authority to the Executive Director of Place to prepare and agree Statements of Common Ground for the Places for Everyone Joint Plan as required.
Reasons for the decision:
To ensure that any necessary modifications to the Submitted Places for Everyone Joint Plan 2021 that arise through the Examination process, can be agreed and approved in a timely manner. PfE needs to progress through Examination as smoothly as possible. If it is necessary to amend policies and/or site allocations this will need to be done quickly, by a proposed modification, as recommended by the Inspectors to ensure that the Plan can be considered ‘sound’ and proceed to Adoption.
Alternative options considered and rejected:
There are not considered to be any reasonable alternative options. Following the normal approvals process to agree Main Modifications and Statements of Common Ground will significantly extend the Examination period, frustrating the Inspectors, participants and local communities in Bury and across the plan area. It would also result in a significant increase in costs to the Council (and others) for the Inspectors, expert witness and QC representation time.