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Help shape Fenland's future by having your say on new Draft Local Plan

Residents, businesses, and organisations across Fenland are being invited to share their views on where new housing, employment growth and infrastructure is delivered in the district over the next 18 years.

Local Plan 2021 - 2040

An eight-week consultation on Fenland District Council's new Draft Local Plan runs from now until Wednesday, 19 October 2022.

It is the first opportunity for people to share their views on the Plan's emerging proposals for planning policies and development sites required to deliver the future growth and regeneration of Fenland to 2040.

You can read the draft Plan and submit comments via the Council's website at: Alternatively, copies of the Plan and response forms are available at your local library in Fenland.

Cllr Chris Boden, Leader of Fenland District Council, said: "The Local Plan provides us with an opportunity to create a new, shared vision for Fenland that will help us to balance the need to meet growth targets and support and encourage economic growth with our responsibility to protect our environment and green spaces.

"The Plan will also help us to direct growth to areas where there is market demand, to where people want to live, and to where businesses want to invest, taking into account the unique and historic pattern of development and settlements in the district. Growth should benefit all communities, down to the smallest level, rather than seeking to focus growth only in the largest settlements. Our strategy should recognise the ways that our district functions and should provide consumer choice.

"Your views will help shape the future growth of the district and make sure that our Local Plan is right for Fenland; therefore, I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and have their say."

Once the consultation has finished, the Draft Plan will be reviewed in light of comments received and a Final Draft agreed. There will then be a final public consultation next year before the Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State, together with comments from the public. Adoption of the Local Plan is expected to be confirmed in 2024.

The Government requires local councils to produce a Local Plan to identify land to meet their requirements for new housing and economic development. It also sets out the rules for estimating new housing requirements, with the latest Government figures requiring Fenland to provide around 10,500 new homes by 2040.

Fenland's Draft Local Plan, which will eventually become a legal document used as the basis for deciding planning applications, guides where land such as countryside is protected and where development for new housing or land for employment can take place.

It also contains policies that will secure the delivery all types of housing to meet housing needs, and the necessary infrastructure to support growth including public open space, health and education facilities and transport provision. The Plan also contains the basis for policies that will reduce and manage flood risk, increase biodiversity, and aid people's health and wellbeing.

Cllr Denise Laws, Cabinet Member for Planning at Fenland District Council, said: "I would like to thank everyone who has already been involved in the creation of our new Local Plan, including the call for sites and first-stage Issues and Options public consultation in 2019.

"Public feedback from that stage, conversations with stakeholders and emerging evidence and national policy guidance has been used to narrow down the sites for consideration. It has also helped the creation of new policy guidelines, which will eventually become future planning policies to be used in planning decisions.

"Without an up-to-date Local Plan, the Council and our residents would have less say over how we manage development, protect the countryside and other greenfield sites, secure affordable housing and make sure that health, education, and roads improvements keep pace with growth. Without a plan, we and our residents would have little or no voice over the development that will come forward. That is why it is so important that people take the time to look at this draft Plan and have their say."

Article date: August 2022

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