The Full Council agreed to publish our draft Local Plan at last night’s meeting. Local people will be able to comment on it during a six week consultation starting in early January 2022.

This is our second consultation on the second part of the local plan. Last summer we asked people to give their views on the preferred options for policies in the Plan. This consultation is part of the legal process that all local plans must follow. It gives the public and other interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposed Local Plan. After this consultation, and if no major changes are considered to be necessary, it will be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore said: “The draft Local Plan, and all the policies that it contains is so important. We get to set the standards that developers have to meet. Our proposed policies cover topics such as heritage, biodiversity, design, infrastructure and transport.

“We declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and we are already taking bold actions to tackle climate change. We have strong requirements for carbon emissions for new builds, which are 20% better than the national requirement. The draft Local Plan is seeking to increase this to 31% for new homes. We are working with developers toward fully electric, gas free buildings that will eventually become zero carbon. This is ahead of a national proposal to ban gas boilers in new dwellings in 2025.

“Our policies also follow sustainable practice by prioritising total energy efficiency. It is better to use less energy than increase the amount of low carbon energy created with more solar panels. Our proposed policies require improved design and construction, better insulation, and efficient heating and lighting.”

The report also seeks permission to consult on a Parking Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for a four week period. This document will be consulted upon, but not adopted. The issue of whether its content should form part of the Local Plan or be a standalone planning document will be put to the Inspector at the Examination in Public.

Once adopted the draft Local Plan will, together with the adopted Local Plan: Strategy and Sites (LPSS), fully replace the policies that still remain from the existing Local Plan 2003.