Coronavirus disrupts plans for thousands of Royal Borough homes

George Roberts

Plans to build thousands of homes in the Royal Borough could be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The council held a public consultation on its proposed changes to the Borough Local Plan in November and December last year, and the findings, along with the proposals themselves, were sent to the planning inspector, Louise Phillips.

Ms Phillips had originally asked for the examination to resume with further hearings in May or June this year, but the outbreak of COVID-19 looks set to disrupt proceedings.

In a statement released at the end of last month, Ms Phillips said: “In light of the Government’s current advice to stay at home, it states that inspectors will try to progress the pre- and post-hearing stages of their examinations, but that hearings cannot presently take place and are unlikely to be able to resume soon.

“It is not possible, therefore, to schedule further hearings at the moment.

“During these difficult times I would also like to extend my best wishes to all of you involved in the examination and to stress that your safety and that of others is the primary consideration.”

The inspector added that dependent on the Government’s lockdown advice over the coming weeks, she will decide whether it is appropriate to publish her ‘Matters Issues and Questions’, which will guide the next stage of the examination and invite written statements.

The council published its amended Borough Local Plan in October, which will guide developments in the borough until 2033, and seeks to build thousands of new homes.

After looking at the initial plan, submitted in January 2018, the inspector informed the council that further work needed to be done before the examination could continue.

Visit local_ plan/1350/examination for updates on the plan.

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