Residents will be asked to air their views on the latest stage in the development of a document which will direct the area’s growth plans for a 20-year period.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are working together on a new Joint Local Plan, which will shape where new housing, roads and development will take place in both the city and borough. It will also act as a basis for safeguarding the environment, and be a critical tool in guiding decisions about individual development proposals.
Following a previous period of public consultation which focused on the visions of the plan and the levels of growth for housing and employment, a number of potential sites across Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle have now been identified for possible development. To meet the region’s growth aspirations, a minimum of 199 hectares of employment land and 27,800 new homes have been highlighted as being required across both areas between 2013 and 2033.
Of the figures, the breakdown for Stoke-on-Trent is a minimum 131 hectares of employment land and 16,080 houses. The city council has identified development sites which will deliver 167 hectares of employment land, prioritising sites within the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, and capacity for 16,892 homes. By identifying more than is needed, it gives the council a buffer to ensure the flexibility of sites to be included.
Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “This is the next part of the development of the Joint Local Plan and it’s really important that we get the views of the public, which will be listened to and taken into account. The sites we have identified are where we think development would be best suited, but that’s not to say any final decisions have been made.
“Wherever possible we have tried to identify and prioritise brownfield sites for redevelopment, but not every site is viable for development right now in terms of costs and its appeal to developers, and we have to take that into account. We are fortunate to have the fantastic Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, the most successful of its kind in the country, which has shovel-ready employments sites and we will be maximising those as part of the plan. We have to make sure employment and housing developments are on the same level, because you need both of them to support each other.”
Subject to approval from cabinet at both councils, the public consultation on the latest stage will take place next year between February 1 and March 1. All responses will be considered by both councils before a report goes back to their respective cabinets in September 2018. The responses will help to inform the production and approval of a Draft Joint Local Plan. This will be the subject of consultation in autumn 2018 before the plan is then re-considered, finalised and then submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination. The independent examination on the final submission plan will be carried out by a Government-appointed inspector, to determine whether the plan is sound and has been prepared in line with national planning policy and the duty to co-operate.
The consultation document will be available online from 1 February at www.stoke.gov.uk/jointlocalplan or at any library in Newcastle or Stoke-on-Trent, which is when consultation formally launches. It will also be available to be viewed from 1 February at the Guildhall (Newcastle), Madeley Centre, Kidsgrove Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre (Stoke town), One Smithfield, and customer service centres in Longton and Tunstall. Exhibition events will also take place in the coming months.
If you have any questions about the consultation process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the dedicated local plan telephone line on 01782 742333 (during normal office hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday apart from Christmas holidays).