UPDATE 4TH January 2019:  Inspectors report on the Ashford Local Plan

On the 2nd January Ashford Borough Council received the Inspectors report on the Local Plan 2030.  This brings to a close the examination and allows he Council to progress the Local Plan to adoption.  The Inspectors reports and the related Main Modifications can be found here:

Inspector's report Ashford Local Plan [docx] 152KB

Ashford Local Plan main modifications [docx] 1246KB

UPDATE 9TH NOVEMBER 2018- The consultation has finished and all representations made have been sent to the Inspectors for their consideration.

What is an Examination?

The Secretary of State appointed two Inspectors to undertake the independent Examination of the Ashford Local Plan 2030. They will consider whether or not the Local Plan is ‘sound’, based on the criteria set out in paragraph 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The Local Plan will be considered ‘sound’ if the Inspector concludes that it is:

  • Positively prepared - This means the Plan should be based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed needs and infrastructure requirements;

  • Justified - This means that the Plan should be based on a robust and credible evidence base. The Local Plan should also provide the most appropriate strategy when considered against reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;

  • Effective - This means the Plan should be deliverable over the plan period with no regulatory or national barriers to delivery. The Plan should be flexible to deal with changing circumstances, which may involve minor changes in response to monitoring outcomes or more significant changes in response to problems such as sites not coming forward as planned.

  • Consistent with national policy - As well as being a matter of legal compliance, the Plan’s consistency with national policy is also a matter of soundness. Where there is a departure from national policy, the Council must justify this approach. For further information see paragraph 178 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The Inspectors will also consider whether the Local Plan has been prepared in accordance with the Duty to Cooperate, and whether it meets the requisite legal and procedural requirements.

In order to do so, the Inspectors will assess the Local Plan, the evidence base on which it was created, as well as all of the representations (comments) submitted during the consultation phases. These can all be found on the Local Plan 2030 Evidence Base page.

For general information on the process of Local Plans, the Governments Plain English Guide to the Planning System is also helpful.

Examination Process

Part of the Examination process involved hearing sessions where those invited to attend had the opportunity to respond to matters and Issues raised by the Inspectors in person.

Details of the Local Plan Examination hearings and hearing statements produced are available on the Hearing Agendas, Statements and Participants page. The hearings closed in June 2018 and the council is awaiting a post hearing advice note (expected end of June 2018).

For up to date information on the Examination stages, documents and hearings please follow our Updates and Next Steps page.