Landowners and developers are being given a second opportunity to suggest where new homes and space for business could be created in Fenland as part of preparations on the new Local Plan.
Fenland District Council is in the process of updating its Local Plan, which shapes how Fenland will be developed in the future and outlines the planning policies that will be used to make decisions on planning applications over the next 20 years.
In October last year a 'call for sites' exercise was held inviting people to suggest sites that could help to meet the district's future housing or employment requirements. Then in early 2020 work commenced on a draft version of the plan ready for public consultation this summer.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work on the plan has been delayed as further evidence gathering tasks needed to support its publication, such as site visits and traffic studies, have not been possible during lockdown.
The economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic may also have a lasting impact on the housing market, affecting the number of houses needed in the district in future, the building and purchasing of new homes and land availability, as well as planning policies.
Therefore, the timetable for preparing the Local Plan has now been updated and a second 'call for sites' exercise is being held to ensure available and deliverable sites are included.
The call for sites consultation will run for six weeks, from Wednesday, July 29, to Tuesday, September 8. For more information and to take part, visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/newlocalplan
The draft Local Plan is now expected to be ready for public consultation in February 2021, with a view to adoption in November 2022.
Cllr Dee Laws, the Council's Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: "At the start of the year work was progressing well towards a draft version of the Local Plan, but due to the pandemic its preparation has been unfortunately delayed.
"While it is essential we carry on preparing a plan to shape the future of the district through to 2040, there might have to be some changes to take into account post-coronavirus conditions. Due to the current economic uncertainty we are now carrying out a second call for sites to ensure suggested sites are available, viable and deliverable, particularly during the first five years of the plan."
During the consultation period, anyone who submitted sites during the first call in October 2019 is asked to inform the Council if the sites are no longer available for development. There will be no requirement to resubmit sites; all sites previously suggested will be included in the assessment process unless the Council is informed otherwise.
All sites will be assessed against detailed criteria and the preferred sites will be included in the draft version of the Plan.
In addition, the Council would like to invite residents that are interested in seeking to buy land for the purpose of building their own homes to register their interest at: www.fenland.gov.uk/selfbuild. This will ensure that local demand for custom and self-built plots can be reflected in the policies in the emerging Local Plan.
Article added: July 29, 2020