28-Feb-2017

Huntingdonshire District Council continues to work towards meeting the government’s expected requirement to submit a Local Plan by the end of March 2018, with a view to the Plan then being adopted by July 2019. Quarterly reports on the progress of the Plan and Infrastructure Planning have been presented to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panels and Cabinet, with the most recent report being presented to the Cabinet meeting on 19 January 2017.

To meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework, and achieve an adopted Local Plan, it is necessary to demonstrate to a Planning Inspector at the Examination of the Local Plan that the strategy meets a series of tests of ‘soundness’. To be found sound the Plan must be:

• positively prepared - based on a strategy that seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements
• justified - the strategy is the most appropriate one when considered against reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence
• effective - deliverable over its period based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities
• consistent - with national policy enabling the delivery of sustainable development.

As part of the evidence base to demonstrate that the Local Plan that is submitted meets these tests, a Strategic Transport Study for Huntingdonshire has been carried out. This continuing work is considering the cumulative impacts of, and required mitigation for, possible packages of sites to meet the identified need for new housing in particular. It has focused on considering whether packages of sites are ‘effective’/deliverable over the plan period and ‘positively prepared’/meet infrastructure requirements.

Wyton Airfield is a draft allocation in the Stage 3 version of the Local Plan, but this work is demonstrating that the road infrastructure required to serve Wyton Airfield (and the current funding requirements for this infrastructure in particular) is not deliverable at this time. It is therefore expected that Wyton Airfield will not now be allocated in the new Local Plan. To ensure that the Local Plan can meet the currently identified need without relying on Wyton Airfield, work continues on assessing the impacts of packages of potential sites. This goes beyond the four scenarios originally considered (and set out in the report to the Cabinet meeting on 17 March 2016), but continues to be focused on potential sites that have already been subject to public consultation.

Public Consultation on the Submission Draft of the Local Plan is still currently scheduled for the summer. A further update will be provided in the quarterly report to the April 2017 Overview and Scrutiny (Economy & Growth) and Cabinet meetings.

Cllr Harrison, Executive Councillor for Growth, said: "The redevelopment of this site is still considered to provide the opportunity to make a very positive contribution to meeting the future housing needs of the district, and work will continue to explore how the redevelopment of Wyton Airfield can be brought forward in the future."