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Planning QC considers emerging Canterbury local plan unsound, report says

A planning barrister appointed by a Kent parish council to consider the legality of Canterbury City Council's (CCC) emerging local plan document, has said that issues with its content, its supporting evidence and its preparation process might lead it to be found legally unsound, according to a report in Planning Magazine.16 Oct 2014

CCC's emerging local plan document (329-page / 3.4 MB PDF) proposes to allocate land for the development of 15,600 new homes by 2031. The proposed allocations include 3,000 new homes at four identified strategic sites in the seaside town of Herne Bay.

Herne and Broomfield Parish Council (HBPC) "has committed to taking whatever action they consider necessary to fight the proposals in the local plan", according to the minutes of a HBPC meeting in September. HBPC resolved in September to appoint planning barrister Richard Harwood QC of 39 Essex Street chambers to provide an opinion on the legality of CCC's emerging plan.

According to Planning Magazine, Harwood concluded in his opinion that CCC failed to address alternatives to its strategy in the draft local plan document, that it needed to produce an environmental report and that it ought to have been "subject to public consultation at the relevant stages".

Pressure group the Campaign to Protect Rural England has sent a copy of the legal opinion to secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles for consideration, the report said.

Consultation on the draft local plan is closed and CCC intends to submit it to the Planning Inspectorate for examination by the end of 2015.