Answers to frequently asked questions about the Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37 consultation can be found below.

There are also general frequently asked questions about the Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37.

When does the consultation run?

Public consultation starts on Monday July 12 and will run for six weeks. Consultation will conclude at 5pm on Monday August 23. The process commenced after councillors gave their approval during Full Council on 21 June for a public consultation in relation to the Local Plan. They also approved that the Local Plan, once consultation is complete, be submitted to the Government for examination in public.

What is the purpose of the consultation?

The role of the Council is to collect representations from interested parties and submit them to the Government alongside the Local Plan document. The Government will then appoint an independent Planning Inspector to consider the documents and representations through a public examination. Upon conclusion of that public examination, the Planning Inspector will publish a report setting out if the Local Plan is ‘sound’.

Why is there another consultation?

This process is different from the Draft Local Plan consultation of 2019. The purpose of the 2019 consultation, for which a statement of consultation was later published, was to gather suggestions as to how the Council might make changes to the Local Plan. The purpose of the forthcoming public consultation is for interested parties to comment about the legality and soundness of the Local Plan. It is an invitation for residents, businesses and other interested parties to comment on whether the Local Plan:

All previous rounds of Local Plan consultation are summarised in the statement of consultation.

What is the NPPF?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s planning policies for England. It also states how these policies should be incorporated into Local Plans. The NPPF is a framework within which locally-prepared Local Plans for housing and other development can be produced. Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with Local Plans. As such, the NPPF must be taken into account by the Council during the preparation of the Local Plan and is a material consideration in planning decisions.

How will the consultation work?

All documents are available online and can be viewed through the Council’s website. Paper versions are also available for viewing, by appointment, at the Council Offices in Loughborough. Questions about the consultation can be directed to localplans@charnwood.gov.uk or 01509 634929.

Senior planning officers will answer questions during two virtual webinars held using Zoom. They will also guide interested parties on how and where comments can be made. The events have been scheduled so that interested parties can attend and still have time to submit comments ahead of the 23 August consultation deadline. You can register to reserve a place at the events:

  • 6pm-7pm on Thursday July 22

  • 6pm-7pm on Wednesday August 4

Anyone wishing to attend one of the events must register before midnight the preceding day. This is so that details and links can be sent out to attendees on the morning of the meeting. In addition, the Council recognises that interest groups may benefit from a separate virtual meeting with planning officers. This will enable more detailed consultation about specific areas and themes. You can request a meeting at localplans@charnwood.gov.uk

Our consultation plan sets out the full suite of consultation methods we are undertaking for this Local Plan consultation.

How do I submit online comments?

The Council has prepared an online form for interested parties to provide comments for submission to Government. The format of the form reflects the evidential requirements of the Planning Inspector. The Council will guide residents, businesses and other interested parties who wish to make effective representations to the Planning Inspector. Assistance will be available both online and offline.

If you have any questions please contact localplans@charnwood.gov.uk or 01509 634929.

How do I submit offline comments?

People who are not able to use the online form can download a Word version of the response form.

Alternatively, you can send your response, in a format of your choice, to localplans@charnwood.gov.uk or by post to Local Plan, Charnwood Borough Council, Southfield Road, Loughborough, LE11 2TX. 

What does ‘soundness’ mean?

The Planning Inspector’s role is to determine whether the Local Plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and whether it is ‘sound’ in accordance with paragraph 35 of the NPPF. Local Plans are ‘sound’ if they are:

  • Positively prepared. The Local Plan must meet the borough’s housing and employment requirements. In addition, it should be informed by agreements with other authorities, so that unmet need from neighbouring areas is accommodated where it is practical to do so and is consistent with achieving sustainable development.

  • Justified. The Local Plan strategy must be appropriate and based on evidence. Reasonable alternative strategies should have been taken into account.

  • Effective. The Local Plan should be deliverable. Joint working on cross-boundary matters with neighbouring authorities should be evident. 

  • Consistent with national policy. The Local Plan should be in accordance with the policies in the NPPF.

Can we make a joint submission?

Yes. Some groups may share a common view in the comments they wish to make about the Local Plan. If so, it may be helpful if a single representation were to be submitted. In such cases, the group might indicate how many people it is representing and how that representation has been authorised.

The representation may include supporting information and evidence. It can be sent to localplans@charnwood.gov.uk or by post to Local Plans, Charnwood Borough Council, Southfield Road, Loughborough LE11 2TX.

Who collects the representations?

The Council collects the representations during the consultation process. These are then submitted to the Government with the Local Plan for consideration by the Planning Inspector. The Council does not consider the representations of interested parties at this stage in the process.

Who rules on the content of the Local Plan?

The Planning Inspector considers the Local Plan. The first stage is to check that the document meets the various legal requirements. Once this has been completed, the Inspector will consider whether the Local Plan meets the tests of soundness set out in the NPPF (described above). The Planning Inspector will undertake their examination through public hearings. Interested parties who have made comments may be asked if they wish to attend a hearing to provide further explanation. Following the examination, the Planning Inspector will publish a report setting out any modifications and recommending whether the plan can be adopted by the Council. A final ‘main modifications’ consultation will be held specifically consulting on the Planning Inspector’s modifications. 

How will I know that my view has been considered?

The Council will send an acknowledgement of all representations received during the consultation. These will be forwarded to the Government for the Planning Inspector to consider. 

What are the timescales for adoption of the Local Plan?

There is no deadline set by which the Planning Inspector must approve a Local Plan. The Council expects to submit its Local Plan in October 2021. Examination hearings would likely take place in Spring 2022, with the Planning Inspector's Examination Report being published in Autumn 2022. It is hoped that the Charnwood Local Plan will be adopted in October 2022. However, this is dependent on any matters arising from the timescale of the examination. Timescales are set out by the Council in its Local Development Scheme.

I don’t have internet access - how can I see the proposals?

Paper copies of the documents are available to view at the Council Offices in Loughborough during the consultation period. Visitors will require a pre-booked appointment. Please call 01509 634 560 to arrange a time for viewing. Posters will be placed in public libraries to direct people without internet access as to how they can view the physical copy. 

Why is the consultation during the summer holidays?

The Council described in May how Charnwood’s supply of completed houses was running at 3.3 years. This was down from the 5.5 years of supply the Council calculated 12 months earlier. Speed of housebuilding had reduced the borough’s supply to less than the 5 years required by Government. This has meant that existing strategic planning policies relating to the location of new development carried less weight when planners made decisions on incoming applications.

The Local Plan preparation process had been underway for several years. The draft Local Plan consultation was completed in 2019. The 5-year supply requirement hastened the need for resolution. By completing a public consultation promptly, the Council will move closer to an adopted Local Plan. This will enable it to demonstrate 5-year supply and mean increased control over planning decisions. Six weeks is the statutory requirement for public consultation.

Last updated: Wed 14th July, 2021 @ 17:01