The NEDDC Local Plan has been paused.
The new Leader of NEDDC, Cllr Martin Thacker, addressed a meeting of Full Council on Monday 20th May when he explained that as part of delivering on their manifesto, the Local Plan is paused pending a full review and consideration of the options, including a listening exercise. The new Council remain committed to protecting all Green Belt and are looking at reducing the housing target to a more sustainable level.
You may remember that the Planning Inspector in her Interim Report suggested Main Modifications would be necessary for the Plan developed by the former Labour Council, to be found sound. That Plan had a target of 330 homes each year, based on a regeneration scenario. The evidence base documents demonstrated this to be on the high side of a range from as low as 200 per year to 283.
The Inspector had already withdrawn two Green Belt sites from the allocations and reduced the size of the development below Shakespeare Crescent. Local residents felt that this reduction, which still proposed 160 houses on the DR1 site, instead of 235, would leave virtually no gap between Dronfield and Unstone if it went ahead. The withdrawal of some sites but not others means that some developers may wish to appeal or take such decisions to Judicial Review. It is likely that there will have to be a review of the spatial strategy of the Plan which previously and somewhat arbitrarily directed 54% of new housing to the Level 1 towns of Dronfield, Eckington, Killamarsh and Clay Cross and the Strategic Sites.
The new Council is promoting greater transparency in its duties. To achieve this, Council meetings are being live-streamed. You can see the first meeting on YouTube or by seeing below:
To read the latest press release from the Dronfield Civic Society and Dronfield Green Belt Residents’ Group, please click here.