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Central Lincolnshire expansion plan revised

The committee in charge of an ambitious plan to deliver thousands of new homes and jobs in three areas of Lincolnshire will have to set up a new Local Plan.

The Local Plan will be a single document, detailing the Central Lincolnshire plans in full, rather than across separate documents.

This is due to a change in government requirements on the plans made by local authorities after a recommendation by the Secretary of State.

The Central Lincolnshire Partnership Authorities of West Lindsey District Councils, North Kesteven District Council and the City of Lincoln Council, supported by Lincolnshire County Council, were originally preparing a Core Strategy and a separate Allocations Plan for the area.

The big plan aims to add eight new housing estates around Lincoln, Sleaford and Gainsborough over the next 20 years.

This will mean an extra 42,000 new homes for 72,300 more residents, roads, schools, health facilities, shops and other community assets, with the plan of bringing 26,700 jobs to the county.

When this idea was submitted the Secretary of State for examination in October, there were concerns about the two-part plan.

Planning officers are now recommending to the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, which meets on January 6, to withdraw the Core Strategy and combine the work into a single Local Plan.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, the chair of the Joint Strategic Planning Committee said: “Earlier advice received from the Planning Inspectorate indicated that a two part approach was acceptable, but the inspector appointed to examine our plan has taken a different view in the light of emerging Government policy, and we are bound by this view.

“Our over-riding priority now is to get a sound and legally compliant Local Plan to secure the planned, well managed and sustainable growth Central Lincolnshire needs, and to make sure that our communities’ needs are met throughout the process.

“This is a real opportunity for us to re-engage with our communities to secure a great future for Central Lincolnshire.”

Councillor Jeff Summers of West Lindsey District Council added it is “an opportunity to rethink the way we engage with our local communities through our plan making”.

He said: “We should ensure that local communities are given clear information about what the options are for each settlement’s growth and allow sufficient time for them to have a good debate before some difficult decisions have to be made by the Joint Strategic Planning Committee.”

Councillor Marion Brighton of North Kesteven District Council wants to see the plans in motion, but also aims to ensure local communities are protected from inappropriate development.

“More than ever, there is a need for the four authorities to work closely together and to secure a comprehensive and fully compliant Local Plan by 2016,” she said.

Councillor Colin Davie of Lincolnshire County Council said: “Pleased to see that this change to a single Local Plan will not result in any delay in the time when Central Lincolnshire will have a fully up to date development plan looking forward to 2031.

“The Allocations Plan was due to be adopted by 2016 and the new single Local Plan can also be prepared and adopted by then.”