A final version of Barnsley Council’s new Local Plan – which sets out the way new homes and business developments will take shape in the borough – is now likely to go before councillors for approval in January.
The plan has been in progress for years and will replace a policy which is long out of date and is important because it earmarks the principal sites which will be used to create new jobs as well as thousands of new homes in the years running up to the mid-2030s.
It will also plug a gap which allows developers to exploit a ‘loophole’ in current planning regulations, making it difficult for the authority to reject applications to build new homes.
Government rules require councils to have sufficient land earmarked for house building needs in the five years ahead and because the Local Plan has not yet formally been adopted, Barnsley Council fails to meet that test.
In practice, that means they have limited powers in preventing developers applying successfully to build on land the council might otherwise not approve.
The plan has been through detailed external scrutiny from a Government appointed planning inspector and some amendments have been made on her instruction.
She has now seen the council’s final version and has been back in touch with her findings, though details have not yet been made public.
The plan will go before councillors on the authority’s ruling Cabinet on Wednesday, however, and is then expected to go before the full Barnsley Council for approval in January.
Coun Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place said: “Barnsley’s Local Pan considers the future use of all land within the borough, including Barnsley town centre, and establishes policies and proposals up to the year 2033. It aims to create more and better jobs and provide improved housing to meet existing and future needs, while at the same time protecting what is special about the borough. “After a rigorous public examination lasting almost two years, we’ve received the Local Plan Inspector’s report and we’re currently fact-checking this. The final report is expected imminently and will be uploaded on to our website shortly afterwards, in accordance with the regulations governing Local Plan Examinations. “Cabinet, who will consider the final report on Wednesday 12 December, will be responsible for making a recommendation to Full Council in January 2019 based on the content of the report and the advice of officers.”