A CONTROVERSIAL planning blueprint that outlines how a district will grow over the next 15 years has taken a step forward.

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But Suffolk Coastal’s Core Strategy (CS) will still have to undergo further consultation.

The planning blueprint underwent a public examination last month and has now nearly achieved official approval. Independent Government inspector Mike Moore has said Suffolk Coastal District Council can now proceed with the formal consultation into its proposed “main modifications” which, in his view, would make the CS completely sound. The changes have come about following the examination process and Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for planning, Andy Smith, said: “Our main modifications incorporate all the changes in Government policy, and outcomes of relevant court cases on certain other councils’ core strategies, which have taken place since our CS was submitted in May.

“A significant element of these changes is the inclusion of a policy to undertake an early review of the CS, commencing by 2015, which can take account of the latest information then available, including the full results of the 2011 Census.”

Mr Moore has also advised that, as the council has confirmed the need for 11,000 new homes in the district up to 2027, the authority should undertake an extra sustainability appraisal. That appraisal should consider 11,000 homes in the district, even though the CS itself is not proposing that level of growth at this time, he said.

“We would have in place modern planning policies that would make it clear to potential developers exactly where and where not they could seek permission to build and the acceptable scale of such plans,” Mr Smith added.

The CS outlines where new homes will be built, including 2,000 at Adastral Park at Martlesham Heath and between 1,000 and 1,400 in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages. Campaigners claim it will ruin swathes of countryside, that decisions were made without the correct level of environmental information and that there have been failures in the consultation process - accusations the council strongly denies.

Suffolk Coastal is also being asked for its views on a Government order to revoke the East of England Plan, known as the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), which would come into effect on January 3. The document was published in 2008 and sets out the scale, broad location and timing of future development.

The full council will meet on January 17 at 2pm at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew, to consider this issue. Visit www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourdistrict/planning/review/corestrategy/examination for details.

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