The Planning Policy Committee held on Wednesday 17 January was updated about the ongoing and extensive work being done to prepare the Local Plan. Having a robust evidence base to inform and underpin the Local Plan is essential. Until sufficient evidence has been gathered no recommendations about the potential location for a garden village or any other sites for development can be made.

The Council continues to meet with infrastructure providers like water, health and education services to gain an understanding of what infrastructure is needed to support any proposed development. This is one of the most significant pieces of work which will ensure the Local Plan delivers roads, schools, shops and health facilities to benefit the whole district.

During the Local Plan: Garden Villages Consultation 2,803 responses were received from residents and others. Work to analyse these responses is ongoing and will form part of the evidence base. A robust evidence gathering process is vital as it will support the delivery of a plan, which as well as delivering infrastructure, will protect the Green Belt and enable the district to keep control over where development goes.

Later this year there will be another public consultation about the Council’s final draft of the plan, known as the Regulation 19, before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Councillor Keith Jecks, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Policy Committee, said: “No decisions can or will be taken about the potential location of a Garden Village until the evidence is understood. The analysis of the thousands of responses to the consultation is ongoing and we will publish all the responses as soon as we can.

“It is critical we develop a Local Plan which seeks to meet the needs of our existing and future residents, businesses and visitors. We are committed to delivering the affordable homes, roads, schools, shops and health facilities our district desperately needs, which in turn will boost business and create new jobs. While a garden village development would require the release of around 1% of Green Belt, from the 94% we currently have, releasing this small amount in one particular area will make it easier to protect the rest and prevent a scattergun approach to making any other changes to the Green Belt.”

To be kept up to date and make sure they can get involved residents can register on the consultation portal to receive e-mail updates or e-mail