There’s a bit of a nip in the air in the mornings, a sharp reminder that this wonderful summer is slowly drawing to a close. Time for the blog to wake from its summer torpor and see what has been going on. Is there anything worth reporting?
Well yes actually. While we have all been snoozing in our hammocks, a Government inspector has ruled that LibDem South Somerset District Council’s much heralded Local Plan (formerly the pretentiously titled “core strategy”), has been ruled as “unsound”. As a consequence, the Council has decided to suspend the plan for another 7-8 months so that it can address the inspector’s concerns.
You would have thought that having spent £2.5 million of your money compiling the plan, they might have got it right. But heigh ho, apparently only 30 per cent of submitted plans get through first time round, so that’s all right then. Another £350,000 to sort out the unsound elements and the council is back in business – allowing more unsightly developments like the jungle-like eyesore KFC/pub and hotel complex at Wincanton and the creation of hundreds of homes, windfarms and solar farms on greenfield agricultural sites in Templecombe, East Coker and elsewhere in the district.
The local plan is not the usual piece of bureaucratic tomfoolery. It is a blueprint for how the area will be developed between now and 2028.
Under the Government’s planning laws there is a presumption in favour of development in local authority areas which do not have an approved local plan.
With no local authority elections due until 2015, we have to rely on the Conservative opposition to ensure the plans are what the locality wants and needs, are sufficiently rigorous to pass the Inspector’s scrutiny. Can they do it? Or will we be overrun by tatty housing and ill-considered speculative energy projects?
Slades Hill, Templecombe development