It looks like quite a lot has been going on in relation to the Hart Local Plan examination. We have updates on:
- Timing of the Hart Local Plan examination hearings
- Early stage procedures for the Hart Local Plan examination
- National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) applying to the examination
- Impact on Pale Lane (aka Elvetham Chase) appeal
Timing of the Hart Local Plan Examination hearings
Back in June, Hart Council briefed the Parish Councils about the Hart Local Plan examination. The full briefing can be found on the download below. They set the expectation that the Local Plan examination would start in late September and last 2-3 weeks.
We have been in touch with the Programme Officer, a man called Ian Kemp, who can be contacted here. He tells us that he has:
Provisionally scheduled hearings during the weeks of 19/11 and 3/12.
So, the examination is going to be 2 months later than Hart’s estimate.
Early stage procedures for the Hart Local Plan examination
In the June briefing Hart said that the Planning Inspector would issue a note in mid-July explaining the role of the Programme Officer and the status of any modifications to the Local Plan. This note was also to cover the timetable for submitting additional material and how the hearing sessions would work.
Ian Kemp tells us that he is:
Required to contact all representors six weeks prior to the start of the Examination to relay the details and arrangements. For the moment, the Inspector is in the early stages of his preparation.
So, it looks like we won’t know more details about how the Examination will be conducted around the beginning of October.
NPPF Framework applying to the Hart Local Plan examination
The revised National Planning Policy Framework has been released recently. Fortunately, it contains clause 214 that says:
Policies in the previous Framework will apply for the purpose of examining plans, where those plans are submitted on or before 24 January 2019.
This means that the Hart Local plan will be examined under the old framework. This might be mixed news. On the plus side, they won’t be examined on policies they didn’t know about when they were preparing the plan. On the negative side, it may well mean that the housing numbers that will apply to the examination will be those in the SHMA (8,022 or 382 dwellings per annum or so over the period 2011-2032), rather than the new figures in the Government consultation.
As a reminder, the Government figures were for 292 dpa, which results in a total of 4,672 over the shorter planning period of 2016-2032. However, Hart decided to increase this to 388dpa over the same period. We suspect the housing numbers will become a big debating point in the examination.
Impact on Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) Appeal
The Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) appeal hearing has been scheduled to being on 8 January 2019. This date in contained in a new schedule published on the planning inspectorate website, that can also be found here.
On the face of it, this looks like good news as it seems most likely to us that the appeal will not be upheld. Assuming the Local Plan is found to be sound in December 2018, and Pale Lane is not on the list of approved sites, then we cannot see how the inspector can uphold the appeal. However, if the Hart Local Plan examination finds the plan unsound, then Pale Lane may go ahead.