What’s going on with the Local Plan?

In March Mr Fox, the appointed Inspector, held a Pre-Hearing Meeting to explain the procedures going forward. Mr Fox will be examining issues relating to the soundness of the plan in a series of hearing sessions.

Those who wrote to Mr Fox with soundness queries were in good company. 8441 representations were raised from 801 respondents. Mr Fox considered this to be an unusually high number. He will take them all into account in the up-coming hearings where they relate to soundness.

The hearings will be held within the Hawksworth Hall Room of STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway. Those which directly affect South Marston are as follows but are subject to alteration.  An updated schedule will be available on the Council’s web site.

7th May 09.30-13.00 Distribution of Housing Development (Issue 5)
9th May 09.30-13.00 New Communities: Eastern Villages, including Rowborough and South Marston Village Expansion (Issue 11E)
9th May 14.00-17.30 Rural Settlements: South Marston Village (Issue 12A)
15th May 09.30-17:30 Flood Risk (Issue 16)
20th May 09.30-17:30 Infrastructure Delivery (including hospitals and schools) Transport (Issues 17 and 18)

Those wishing to participate in the discussion at a hearing session will already have booked a place. However, everyone is welcome to attend the sessions as an observer.

Sylvia Brown is representing SMPC at the above sessions where the discussion will concentrate on South Marston as put forward in the Local Plan. It’s fair to say that the Local Plan is a strategic document and the examination will be concentrating on the principle and level of development within South Marston rather than the specific details. The Inspector’s report will certainly be focussing on the soundness brief rather the specific details of ‘what’s going where’ etc in the village. The same principle would apply to any Site Visit but ultimately how detailed discussions get are a matter for the Inspector to manage as he deems appropriate.

SMPC supports the draft Plan policies and in discussions will be keen to explain and defend their stance. It is crucial that Mr Fox is aware of everyone’s views but no further representations can be made at this point as the deadline was 1st April. No representations can be made after the briefings. His conclusions will form a report to be published in the summer. The Local Plan will then either go forward to the next stage, or not, or require some minor or significant amendments.

Last week I attended SMRA’s Annual General Meeting. Living next door to the Rec I see the me and the energy dedicated to its upkeep. Children from the village and beyond love the swings, etc and the footballers get to play on ground that is properly prepared. SMRA’s accounts show that the Rec generates income in excess of its outgoings with the balance subsidising the village hall. The Groundsmen are out there at all hours and in all weathers ensuring the Rec is a safe place to play. Aren’t volunteers wonderful!

Anne Featherstone, Stonecroft, South Marston

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