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Blueprint for future development in Cannock to go out for public consideration in new year

A blueprint for future development in Cannock Chase is set to go out for public consideration in the new year – more than a year after the consultation was due to take place.

Cannock Chase District Council

The latest Local Plan for Cannock Chase covers the years between 2018 and 2040 and the latest consultation stage was agreed in August 2022 by the district council’s previous administration.

But the consultation did not take place as planned, a report to the council’s cabinet said, due to the Open Space Strategy – “a key element of the evidence base” – being incomplete. The report added: ” In the time that has passed it has been necessary to update the Reg 19 2022 version of the Local Plan and to review proposals being made to the plan-making system at a national level.

“Additionally, a new administration was formed following elections in May 2023. New members have been briefed to inform them of the Local Plan strategy, and the Local Plan Officer and Members Working Group have reviewed options and discussed any necessary amendments to the Local Plan.”

On Thursday, cabinet members agreed to start a public consultation on the updated Local Plan, ahead of its submission. This is expected to run between January and March, with the plan submitted in the summer.

Examination of the Local Plan is due to take place towards the end of 2024. And if the Local Plan is approved it is expected to be formally adopted in summer 2025.

The cabinet report said: “The need as of 2023 equates to 264 dwellings per annum. Adding the contribution of 500 dwellings towards unmet need of the Greater Birmingham and Black Country Housing Market Area (HMA) means that the total requirement over the plan period is 6,308 dwellings.”

The council’s deputy leader Josh Newbury said quite a lot of the housing required during the plan period had already been built however. And 66 hectares (163 acres) of land for employment use would be required during the plan period.

He added: “The Government has moved the goalposts when it comes to local plan development. It meant at one point the plan team had to start from scratch, which was a real setback.

“We consulted on it in March/April 2021, so it’s quite a long time since we went out to the public with the Local Plan. There is a list of venues that has been drawn up and we want to focus on areas most affected by development.

“We plan a mix of daytime and evening events, in places like community centres and libraries. It’s more of a challenge to promote offline than it is online, but I think that’s where we can come in as councillors.”

Council leader Tony Johnson said: “There’s no such thing as hard to reach people – it’s hard to reach services. We want to be open, honest and accessible and that’s the way forward.”

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