The consultation period for SODC’s Local Plan 2033 (Second Preferred Options) has now ended. Very well done to everyone who responded – it was not an easy process!
The document itself was 228 pages long with 7 appendices. There was also the Sustainability Appraisal (395 pages) with 17 further appendix documents. As a group, we digested it all and provided a detailed response to SODC which itself totalled 45 pages!
Whilst a consultation form had been produced by SODC, it was in 2 parts (Part A and Part B) with a new part B being required for every element of the plan being responded to. Surely the consultation should be easier? We are sure many people will have been put off from responding given the magnitude of paperwork and reading required.
One could argue that the process is deliberately hard so as to minimise the community response and involvement. There has also been considerable confusion given that communities have been asked to respond to previous documents that form part of the process.
Surely that must be it? Well no, there will in fact be a further consultation later this year. SODC will now review the responses received and then produce a final version of the Local Plan. We will then have an opportunity to respond to the final version, and those responses will be sent to the Inspector (along with the Local Plan and all supporting documents) so that a decision can be made as to whether it needs further amendment or can be formally adopted.
We will keep you fully updated and let you know how you can get involved in the next stage. Numbers do really count and every response submitted does, and can, make a difference.