Missing information delays Tonbridge's Local Plan hearings

AWAITING THE GREEN LIGHT: The Green Belt site where 480 homes are set to be built in south Tonbridge

Missing information delays Tonbridge's Local Plan hearings

by Andy Tong | 4th April 2019

THE planning inspectors have had to delay the hearings for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s draft Local Plan because it did not submit all the necessary documentation on time.

It also failed to publish the representations made in the public consultation period online.

Simon Berkeley and Luke Fleming wrote to Ian Bailey, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s [TMBC] planning policy manager, after the document was submitted on January 24.

TMBC was criticised for providing ‘very basic information’ about the next step of the process for the draft on its website.

The inspectors said: “The examination webpages need to be fit for purpose as the main information point for all those involved or interested in the examination.”

They told Mr Bailey to put all representations up on the website by last Friday [March 29].

The inspectors also pointed out in their letter of March 1 that six papers were still missing, leaving the draft incomplete, which meant they were not able to proceed with the hearing.

“You will appreciate that until the evidence base is complete we cannot complete our initial assessment of the Local Plan,” TMBC was told.

“In short, the absence of a completed evidence base will unavoidably delay progress.”

The council responded that it had not managed to put the representations online because it had to redact personal information first.

Mr Bailey said: “This has taken some time to complete given that we received approximately 20,000 representations.”

The day before the deadline, Mr Bailey advised that one of the supporting papers, Sustainability Appraisal Addendum, could not submitted in time and would be completed by April 18, along with three topic papers which referred to it.

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