Examination news

2 April 2020

Update on impacts of COVID-19 on the Local Plan Examination - updated

We would like to update you on the potential impact of Covid-19 on the timescales ahead with the Local Plan Examination.  Following the Local Plan hearing sessions late last year, the Inspectors have written to the Authority with their interim findings (see examination library document INS-012).  Their letter requests some further work on a number of specific areas.  The Examination stage of the Local Plan Review is not completed until we have address the points in their letter and have undertaken a final public consultation on the proposed main modifications. The Inspectors will make final conclusions on the legal compliance and soundness of the Plan in their final report, once the main modifications have been finalised and subject to a 6 week public consultation.

We were expecting to complete the further work and submit to the Inspector for consideration by the end of April however, the government health guidelines relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19) has significantly changed the way we all work and it’s now hard to be precise with the timescales ahead due to the availability of resources from our stakeholders, required consultants and staff. However, progressing the work on the Plan remains a priority and we are still making good progress.

We do not believe a public consultation would be appropriate at this time of crisis for the Lake District and the wider country. Ideally, we would like to be in a position to be ready for the Main Modifications consultation as soon as some kind of normality resumes or greater clarity regarding the Local Plan production is provided by Government, and we will keep timescales for consultation of the proposed modifications under review as information becomes available. Please do not hesitate to contact the Local Plan team via email (localplan@lakedistrict.gov.uk) if you require any further information but please be aware that we may not be as quick to respond as usual. Please regularly check the Examination News for further updates, as information from Government is regularly changing which may affect the work on the production of the Local Plan.

5 February 2020: The Inspectors have sent the follow up lists from each week of the hearing sessions to the National Park Authority. These are available to view in the examination library as INS-013 and INS-014.

The LDNPA is currently preparing a response to these that will go onto the examination library in due course.

24 January 2020: The Inspectors have sent a post-hearings letter to the National Park Authority. It is available to view in the examination library as INS-012.

The LDNPA are grateful to all participants and stakeholders who participated in the Local Plan hearing sessions in November and December 2019. The Inspectors have now written to LDNPA with their interim findings following the hearing sessions.

It is usual practice that Inspectors identify additional work for planning authorities to undertake in order to make their Plan sound.  As expected, the LDNPA has been asked to undertake a number of specific areas of work in order to progress the Plan.

One of the changes we have been asked to make relates to re-inserting our Major Development Policy and undertaking work as a result of doing this. We originally included a Major Development Policy in our Local Plan public consultation in 2018. After the 2018 public consultation, the Government released an updated National Planning Policy Framework (Framework) which stated that Local Plans should avoid unnecessary duplication of national policies. We therefore we took the decision to remove the Major Development Policy to ensure consistency with the national Framework. In their letter, the Inspectors have acknowledged the reasons for our removal of the Major Development Policy. However, we are happy to re-insert the policy and work through the Inspector’s advice on the implications of doing this.

The Inspectors are not inviting or accepting comments on this letter from other parties to the examination. We are considering the Inspectors recommendations and will shortly set out a timetable and response to undertaking this work.

18 December 2019: An Open Space, Sport, and Recreation Study has been added to the examination library. Reference LDNPA-017.

09 December 2019: The hearings sessions have now closed so the reserve days this week will not be used.

22 November 2019: The inspectors have now issued hearing agendas for Week 2 of the hearings. They are available to view in the examination library as INS-009 to INS-011.

20 November 2019: The inspectors have now issued hearing agendas for Week 1 of the hearings. They are available to view in the examination library as INS-006 to INS-008.

18 November 2019: The inspectors have now published a revision to their timetable for the hearings, inviting two additional participants. The National Park Authority has also published a Statement of Common Ground between themselves and Natural England. These are available to view in the Examination Library.

15 November 2019: The National Park Authority have now published a Statement of Common Ground prepared between themselves and the Friends of the Lake District. This is available to view in the Examination Library as LDNPA-012.

14 November 2019: The inspectors have now published their timetable for the hearings in a Final hearing Programme, which includes details of participants. This is available to view in the Examination Library. Respondents to the Pre-submission Local Plan will be contacted directly.

12 November 2019:  Hearing statements have now been received in response to the Inspectors’ Matters, Issue and Questions.  They can be viewed on the Hearing Statements page.  The hearing statements are provided in the order of the hearing timetable.

08 October 2019: A revised version of the Inspectors' Matters Issues and Questions has been issued to correct a typographical error in Matter 2, question 5.

4 October 2019: Formal notice has now been given of the examination hearings. The Inspectors have produced their Matters, issues and questions for the examination as well as an Information note. They have also set out a timetable for the hearings in a Draft hearing Programme. These are all available to view in the Examination Library. Respondents to the Pre-submission Local Plan will be contacted directly.

19 September 2019: The Inspectors have proposed a suggested outline for the examination process.  It is proposed that the hearings would take place over the two weeks commencing 25 November and 2 December 2019, probably sitting Tuesday to Thursday each week.  There would be possible reserved sessions on Friday 29 November and during the week commencing 9 December 2019.

These are the Inspectors’ initial suggestions and the dates are only provisional at this stage. Exact dates will be confirmed when the Matters, issues and questions (MIQs) are issued later this month.

11 September 2019: The National Park Authority has now sent a response to the Inspectors’ Note of 2 September 2019. This is available to view in the Examination Library. The Document reference is LDNPA-003 Response to Inspectors initial points of clarity 02 September 2019

6 September 2019: The Inspectors have produced a Note for the National Park Authority. This is available to view in the Examination Library. The Document reference is INS-001 Notes from Inspector 2 Sept 2019

1 August 2019: The Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 1 August 2019.