Following examination hearings in July and September 2018 led by a government inspector, Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) received confirmation in October that it had complied with relevant requirements in the preparation of Huntingdonshire’s Local Plan. The Inspector has now outlined the few modifications required to enable the Local Plan to move towards final adoption. It is expected that these will be finalised over the coming weeks and will then be subject to a seven-week round of public consultation, starting in December.

Commenting on receipt of the Inspector’s letter, Cllr Ryan Fuller, Deputy Executive Leader and Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Economic Development said: “We are delighted that the Inspector has confirmed that the Local Plan can proceed towards adoption with so few modifications, and that we are on target to adopt it earlier than envisaged. All interested parties – landowners, developers, statutory consultees and other stakeholders – had the opportunity to put forward any modifications that they wanted to see during four weeks of public hearings. I am pleased that, having listened to many representations, the Inspector has agreed with the council on the majority of matters.

“One change that the Inspector has recommended is the removal of the Local Service Centre designation of the three villages of Bluntisham, Alconbury and Great Staughton. This category had been proposed last year to provide an opportunity for sustainable growth to support those villages that had a greater range of facilities than many others, and in response to calls to include more small and medium sized sites for local housebuilders. This category amounted to approximately 1.5% of the total growth proposed across the district and we are pleased to support the Inspector’s recommendation in this respect.

“The Inspector has carefully considered our development proposals, and in concluding that we are able to appropriately plan for sustainable growth elsewhere in the district, has suggested that the proposed Local Service Centres are not required. Taking the Plan as a whole, I am particularly pleased that the Inspector has indicated that the council can meet its need for housing land from sites we have already identified, and that he has not required the council to add any additional speculative sites that were proposed by developers and landowners throughout the examination process. However, until the Plan is adopted, the council will have to continue to determine all applications in accordance with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework. 

“Subject to the Inspector giving consideration to comments received during the final round of public consultation, it is envisaged that the council can move swiftly towards final adoption of the Local Plan in early 2019. Adoption of the Plan will give our communities certainty over how we can deliver well planned and managed growth which includes homes, jobs, community facilities and the local infrastructure to support them.”