Published: 12:00, 23 July 2014
| Updated: 12:38, 23 July 2014
Gravesham’s green belt has been protected from developers for years to come, it was announced today.
The government’s planning inspector has declared Gravesham council’s blueprint for the next few years as sound– known as the Local Plan Core Strategy – after public hearings in September last year and April this year.
The announcement means the council can take future planning decisions based on the strategy which earmarks areas for both development and protection over the next 14 years.
Although the council is committed to a review of the green belt boundaries, the inspector’s final report stresses that “a wholesale release of Green Belt” land is not likely to be necessary.
Council leader Cllr John Burden said: “This is the best possible outcome for residents. What this means is our planning policy has a firm foundation for the future. Without this approval, the council would have been at the mercy of developers.”
Between the two hearings and extensive public consultation, the inspector suggested some changes to the number of projected homes needed by 2028.
This was mainly due to new migration and population figures not available when the original strategy was drawn up. The number of new homes forecast to be needed over that period has risen to 6,170 from 4,600.
Land at Coldharbour Road, outside the green belt, has now been allocated for 500 houses and job creation to meet short-term housing needs.
Nigel Payne, the independent planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, said in the report that it was in the “wider public interest” to adopt the plan as soon as possible.
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