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Local plan process restarts

Fife Council, 18 September 2008

The process to get the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan approved by Fife Council has been kicked off at committee.

Members of the North East Fife Area Committee heard that since the finalised draft St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan was approved back in August 2006, there have been developments in legislation, policy and local issues that will need to be considered before the plan can progress.

Elected members have agreed to provide their comments on a position statement which explains all of the relevant issues that need to be taken into account. These include: changes to national planning policy; changes to council policy; providing affordable housing, ensuring supply of employment land; conservation areas; areas of great landscape value and traffic issues to name a few.

In addition, the council has to make sure there is a five year supply of housing land identified through the local plan. Currently, there is only a two year supply meaning that planning applications could be determined by appeal or as departures if they are refused on policy grounds rather than through an up to date, approved local plan.

Councillor Andrew Arbuckle, chair of the North East Fife Area Committee said: "The people of North East Fife have already invested a significant amount of their time and energy into shaping the local plan. Given the length of time that has passed since the local plan was last considered it's only right and proper that the process be opened up again to ensure that the policies and proposals for North East Fife can be scrutinised by all."

The finalised draft St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan wasn't published for public consultation in early 2007 due to the uncertainty around the Structure Plan, so the planned consultation on the environmental report that accompanies the 2006 version of the Local Plan also didn't take place.

Members of the Levenmouth Area Committee will consider the same report and position statement when they meet on 24 September. Comments from members of both local area committees will be provided to members of the Planning Committee when they meet on 21 October.

At that time, councillors on the Planning Committee will be asked to give approval to publish the position statement, to produce the 2009 St Andrews and East Fife Draft Local Plan and to consult on the environmental report.

If approval is given, it is proposed to bring the results of the environmental report consultation and the draft local plan back to North East Fife and Levenmouth area Committees and Planning Committee in early 2009. The next steps in the process will be to publish the draft local plan and updated environmental report for public consultation before preparing modifications to the plan and a public enquiry with final adoption of the plan in 2010.

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