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Lincolnshire expansion plans need more work

More work is needed on the Central Lincolnshire Core Strategy before it can be rolled out, according to the Secretary of State.

The Core Strategy is part of the ambitious Central Lincolnshire Local Plan 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.

After representatives from district councils on the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee approved the strategy in July, a public consultation was set out to let the public have their say.

The strategic side of the plans and results were then passed onto the Secretary of State in October 2013.

However Inspector David Vickery, appointed by the Secretary of State to consider the soundness of the plan, raised issues which need to be resolved before adoption.

These include reassurance that sufficient sites can be identified for development, clarification of the plan’s strategic priorities and how the delivery of the document’s Sustainable Urban Extensions and infrastructure will be achieved.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Chair of the Committee, said: “The Inspector has given us a very helpful steer as to what further work we need to do to get our Core Strategy right for an examination.

“This relates particularly to the need for our plan to have at least a five to six years supply of land actually allocated for meeting our housing targets.

“The work required to identify that supply and to consult properly on proposed allocations will take longer than a temporary delay in submitting the plan.

“The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee will receive advice at its meeting in January as to the way forward.

“The options to be considered will be whether the additional work can be achieved within the timescales to be prescribed by the inspector or whether a more sensible way forward would be the withdrawal of the current plan and the development of a more comprehensive local plan put in place.

“Thankfully, this will not delay the adoption of the Local Plan as a whole and we will ensure that by 2016 both a long term growth strategy and the means by which that will be delivered will be in place.”

The Committee will meet on January 6, 2014 to consider officer recommendation to withdraw the document.