Kent council decides not to proceed with neighbourhood plan after lack of public involvement

Out-Law News | 19 Aug 2014 | 5:14 pm |

A Kent council has decided not to continue work on a plan for local development, after deciding that a lack of public involvement made it unlikely that the document would pass examination by a planning inspector.

New Romney Town Council announced this month that it would not be proceeding with a neighbourhood plan for New Romney, Littlestone and the northern part of Greatstone on the Kent coast.

According to a statement on the Town Council's website, in coming to the decision councillors considered the "low number of responses received to questionnaires" that were circulated to local residents for completion in March and April 2013. The questionnaires asked local people whether they wanted to be involved in creating a neighbourhood plan, what issues a plan should address and whether they had any suggestions for development. According to the statement, "the vast majority" of questionnaires received were "completed by residents aged 61+ stating they did not want any change to the parish".

"The lack of public involvement made it unlikely a plan would be passed by the independent inspector", concluded the Town Council, adding that the decision to cease work on the plan was considered sensible "bearing in mind the need to protect taxpayers' money".

The Town Council said it would use issues raised by local residents during the consultation process to assist in the drafting of "a much smaller, community-led document which would detail desirable projects within the parish".