Joint Local Plan to take area to 2037 to be considered by councillors at Mid Suffolk and Babergh

A computer generated image of the Walnut Tree Walk development on the site of the former Stowmarket Middle School Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Councillors are set to consider the latest Joint Local Plan – shaping how Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s towns and villages will deliver housing, important infrastructure, and essential employment until 2037.

The final version of the Joint Local Plan, clarifying how the councils propose to meet government housing targets and detailing how and where development should take place, will be discussed at Full Council meetings later this month.

Should the plan be agreed, it will ensure suitable and sustainable homes are built in the right places and support Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s ambitions to build great communities with bright and healthy futures.

Protecting and enhancing the districts’ natural environment, whilst promoting sustainable development and transport options, is also included within the plan’s priorities.

Infrastructure, enabling facilities to keep pace with population growth, is central to the delivery of the plan and is supported by a detailed Infrastructure Delivery Plan. The plan also seeks to develop the local economy, encourage tourism and revitalise town centres.

Extensive work has been undertaken by officers and a cross-party working group to reflect feedback from communities – with over 18,000 comments received from those with an interest in the plan, including local businesses and residents, during previous public consultations.

Once publication of the plan has been agreed by councillors, and its evidence has started to be tested, it is set to carry increased weight in the planning decision-making process and will be formally adopted by the councils after examination by a Planning Inspector.

Prior to submission of the plan for examination, there will be a six-week period inviting comment on the legal compliance and soundness of the plan. These representations will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration during the examination.

Political parties across both councils have previously acknowledged the need to finalise the plan promptly, with changes to national planning policies, including local plans, potentially arising following the Government’s recent planning consultations.

Clive Arthey, Babergh District Council Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “Our joint local plan is a blueprint for developing Babergh’s towns and villages – securing the infrastructure needed to support growth and regenerating our local economy at a time when this is needed more than ever. We are building communities, not just homes, and this plan will help further our council’s ambition to guarantee bright and healthy futures for all our residents.

“I am pleased with the progress made on the plan to date, which is the culmination of valuable input from local communities and extensive work from officers and councillors.”

And David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council Cabinet Member for Planning, added: “We know how important housing growth and its significant impact on infrastructure are to our communities, and this plan reflects the feedback previously received from local residents and businesses. Although we cannot control housing targets set by government, we can work with our communities to influence where development is located, supporting our ambition for Mid Suffolk to be somewhere that people are proud to call home.

“I would like to thank the cross-party working group who have created a shared vision for sustainable development – protecting and enhancing our natural environment, as our council continues its commitment to strengthening biodiversity and addressing climate change.”

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