Local Plan passes first hurdle in bid to shape the plan and future of West Suffolk

People’s views will be at the heart of forming a new Local Plan for West Suffolk which will help shape the future of communities and supporting development up to 2040.

West Suffolk Council supported the start of engaging with communities as part of the Issues and Options phase of the Local Plan at their meeting on Tuesday, September 29.

The Local Plan helps communities continue to thrive in the future by setting out where homes will be built and supports with other council policies where new jobs and other vital facilities are located. All West Suffolk planning decisions are judged against Local Plan policies.

The Local Plan ensures the right number and types of homes are built in the right places and through its policies supports the provision of space for employment, green spaces, education, culture, health and sports facilities.

It also looks at how infrastructure supports this growth and challenges faced in the area, such as climate change.

A local plan is also vital to prevent speculative development that could harm communities and the environment. It ensures growth is well planned and supports future ambitions for the future.

The process involves three consultation stages with the first being the Issues and Options which will start on October 13 and last for 10 weeks.

This initial stage which will help shape the plan and the future of West Suffolk as it develops. The Issues and options consultation has three parts: Part One includes a spatial vision, a new draft settlement hierarchy and options for the distribution growth; Part Two sets out issues in West Suffolk that are particularly relevant to our area; and Part Three contains sections for the towns, key service centres, local service centres and villages identified in the draft settlement hierarchy in part one of the plan.

At this first information gathering stage, the council will be consulting and seeking comments on a variety of issues and options. This includes questions such as have we identified the challenges correctly and relevant local issues as well whether we have covered all the options for delivering growth.

Due to Covid-19 engagement on this will be different to before the pandemic. There will be a range of ways people will be able to see the information, find out more and have their say, including a virtual exhibition online as well as talking to team members by phone.

John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “A good Local Plan is central to the future development of West Suffolk and our communities. It is much more than just about where housing and associated facilities may go but will set out how best to support the future prosperity of our area and future generations as well as tackling issues such as climate change, and making sure we get the right kind of development in the right place while protecting our environment. The Local Plan shapes planning and development here up to 2040 which is why it is vital that, and I would encourage, people to have their say. It is #YourFuture #YourSay.”

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