THE public have the final chance to comment on keystone planning policies that will determine the construction of nearly 10,500 new homes in the New Forest.
The district council is consulting on changes to the latest version of its Local Plan, a document that sets out overarching development rules until 2036 in the area outside the national park.
After hearings by a pair of government inspectors this summer, the policies have come back with revisions that NFDC has now put out for residents to comment on.
As reported in the A&T, one of the key alterations is to loosen the requirement for affordable homes by making the numbers a “target”.
Overall, however, inspectors chose to keep the affordable housing proportions for larger developments the same: 35% in Totton and the Waterside and 50% elsewhere. They also amended rules to allow for more “flexibility” in the mix of tenures.
The inspectors suggested the change could help maximise the number of affordable homes in developments.
But they added that the normal conditions of development viability will continue to apply, so the full targets would not be achieved in some instances where profitability is significantly affected.
The two inspectors concluded 10,420 new homes would be acceptable – down from NFDC’s calculation of 10,500 to keep up with demand.
An NFDC spokesperson said: “The planning inspectors confirmed that the new Local Plan can be made ‘sound’ with the inclusion of some changes and wish to know peoples’ views on these changes before closing the examination.
“These changes or ‘main modifications’ do not significantly change the Local Plan strategy for the district (outside of the national park) and are a normal part of the plan-making process.
“They largely relate to the detailed wording of policies or supporting text and are necessary to ensure that the Local Plan is justified, effective and consistent with national policy.”
The Local Plan is due to be formally adopted in the spring and gives the go-ahead in principle to build on swathes of green belt land, including at Lymington, New Milton and Ringwood.
The consultation period opened last Friday and will close on Friday 31st January 2020. Only comments about the inspectors’ modifications will be considered. The strategic rules will be joined by more detailed policies in a second phase.
Email comments to email@example.com or write to Policy and Plans Team, New Forest District Council, Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA.
For more information go to www.newforest.gov.uk/article/18663/Local-Plan-Examination.