Concerns raised over town blueprint

A blueprint document that shapes the future development of Stowmarket is to go back before the public after parts of the document were considered potentially “unsound”.

MID SUFFOLK: A blueprint document that shapes the future development of Stowmarket is to go back before the public after parts of the document were considered potentially “unsound”.

Mid Suffolk District Council's public consultation process for its Stowmarket Area Action Plan had recently ended and the document was set to be sent off to the government.

However, officers from the government's Office for the East of England expressed concern that parts of the document needed “further explanation” and told the council that in its present state, the plan had the potential to be found “unsound” by independent planning inspector.

Rather than take the risk of submitting the plan as it was, the council has now withdrawn it, will amend it and put it out before the public again - at a predicted cost of about �5,000.

Stuart Gemmill, the council's portfolio holder for planning said the plan was a “key priority” that would become a formal planning document that would guide future development in the town and its surrounding villages.

He said: “It is crucial that we get this right, as it will guide the development in the area for the long-term future.

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“After our latest round of consultation, the Government Office for the East of England sought further explanation of how the housing and employment figures have been derived, advising us that the document in its present state may have the potential to be found 'unsound' by an independent planning inspector.

“We are recommending a further round of consultation on a revised proposed submission document to address these concerns before the finalised plan is sent to the Secretary of State for approval next year.

“The costs that will be incurred for this are minimal, against the danger of being found unsound if we pursue with the original intention of submitting the document by the end of the year.”

The revised document will be put out to public consultation in the New Year and it is expected to be submitted to the government in early summer.

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