Stevenage Local Plan can progress after holding decision lifted

PUBLISHED: 12:53 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 26 March 2019

The regeneration of Stevenage town centre is a part of the council's Local Plan. Picture: Danny Loo

The regeneration of Stevenage town centre is a part of the council's Local Plan. Picture: Danny Loo

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Stevenage’s Local Plan can now move forward after a 16-month pause on progress was lifted by a government secretary of state yesterday.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland asked Sajid Javid – the then Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – to put the town’s draft Local Plan on hold in November 2017 so that nothing further could be done until his questions were answered, despite the plan having been endorsed with minor modifications by a senior government planning inspector and recommended for adoption.

Stevenage Borough Council’s Local Plan – which sets out how the town will be developed through to 2031 – had been submitted to the government in July 2016.

Stevenage Borough Council took legal action earlier this year over the halt to its Local Plan. Picture: Stevenage Borough CouncilStevenage Borough Council took legal action earlier this year over the halt to its Local Plan. Picture: Stevenage Borough Council

By MP James Brokenshire – who is now the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – lifting the temporary holding direction, the council can now move forward to adopt the plan which sets out proposals for regenerating the town centre, building 7,600 new homes, revitalising neighbourhood centres and creating jobs.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We welcome the decision by the Secretary of State to release the holding direction on the Stevenage Local Plan.

Councillor Sharon Taylor, leader  of Stevenage Borough CouncilCouncillor Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council

“After years of public consultation and examination we have a robust plan. We are pleased that the government shares our vision of an even better Stevenage, in line with the views of the planning inspector and our residents.”

Stevenage Borough Council launched judicial review proceedings at the end of January this year to challenge the continuation of the holding direction, after it had been place for more than a year.

In response to the holding decision being lifted, Mr McPartland tweeted: “Thank you for the thousands of survey replies, please keep them coming.

“Exciting news about a new Development Partnership for Stevenage Town Centre Regeneration and Local Plan update agreed today with Secretary of State.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland is supporting flat owners at Six Hills House. Picture: Chris McAndrewStevenage MP Stephen McPartland is supporting flat owners at Six Hills House. Picture: Chris McAndrew

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor also took to Twitter after the news was announced.

She said: “Thank goodness! After 500 days of a block imposed by our MP, we can now get on with the job.”

To find out more about the Local Plan, go to stevenage.gov.uk/149690/planning-policy/90175.

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