When it comes to planning regulations and rules, it’s easy to get confused with all the abbreviations and technical terminology. Sometimes it seems as if all the buzzwords and red tape have been created on purpose to make matters even more arcane than they actually need to be. With that in mind, MPOG have created this quick & handy guide to understanding the Local Plan and its progression in relation to the proposed 2,000 houses just north of Marden.
Local Plan – The Local Plan is perhaps the most important document when it comes to planning in Maidstone. Every Borough Council will have one. It is used by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) to decide on the direction of housebuilding & development over the next 30 years (up to 2035).
Local Plan Review – Although the Local Plan is valid for 30 years, every so often central government asks Borough Councils to update theirs, normally (unsurprisingly) this is to increase the allotted housing numbers given to them previously. MBC are currently at this stage: they are undertaking a Local Plan Review. This is split into two separate parts: “Regulation 18” and “Regulation 19”.
Regulation 18 – This is often called the “Preparation” stage and has, rather confusingly, been split into two parts by MBC: Regulation 18a and Regulation 18b.
- Regulation 18a – Many in Marden will remember this; back in 2019, MBC invited locals to comment openly on their website about the future of planning in the Borough. Many people from Marden made their own comments online about what direction they wanted the Local Plan Review to take: you would have been asked your preferred idea or “option” as to where development should go within the borough. The vast majority of residents chose to reject “Option C” which was the Garden Communities idea; sadly it appears MBC had other ideas and have ignored this.
- Regulation 18b – As of writing, this is where we are currently at. Again, it’s another consultation to ask residents what they think of the preferred “options” after the decision-making meeting – which now looks like it will be during November 2020. The consultation has been shortened from 6 weeks to 3 weeks so that the “Local Plan Review” can be rushed through before further housebuilding targets are increased by central government – more information here from Kent Online.
Regulation 19 – This is the final stage of the Local Plan Review. It is often called the “Publication” stage. All comments received will be assessed by the Council and appropriate amendments will be made. The Council will then publish the “publication” or “Regulation 19″ version of the Local Plan Review for final public consultation at some point in 2021 – before submitting the plan to the Secretary of State for ‘independent’ examination.
Assuming that Regulation 19 is approved by the Secretary of State, then it will become legally valid and be utilised by Maidstone Borough Council for the next few years, until the process repeats all over again!
There is more information on the MBC website here if you wish to find out more.