Rural North Oundle & Thrapston Plan - Final Examination Hearing Sessions & Post Hearing Information

RNOTP Examination - Inspector's Report and Next Stage

On 8 July, the finalised Inspector's Report was received. The news is very good because he has found the plan to be "sound", provided that it is changed in the ways specified in his report. These changes include three main elements - parts to be deleted, parts to be modified and new additions to ensure a "sound" plan is created. The Inspector's Report consists of:

"Report on the Examination into the East Northamptonshire Rural North, Oundle and Thrapston Development Plan Document" - known as the "Inspector's Report"
Annex 1 - Council's suggested changes
Annex 2 - Oundle Housing Strategy
Annex 3 - Proposals Map Changes

Annexes 1 and 3 show those changes which were put forward by the Council through the Examination process since January 2008 which the Inspector has accepted as means by which the Rural North, Oundle and Thrapston Plan could be made "sound". Other changes put forward by the Inspector are set out in the Inspector's Report, together with Annex 2.

Since submission of the RNOTP to the Secretary of State on 11 January 2008, the Council has agreed many changes to the document, to address concerns raised by the Inspector during the Independent Examination of the Plan. This process has taken place over the past 18 months, since submission of the Plan in January 2008. The key areas for change, approved by the Council's Planning Policy Committee, which emerged during the Examination are:

Allocation of additional housing sites in Oundle, in order to meet government 5 year "deliverable" housing land supply requirements, i.e. sites which could be ready for building work to commence immediately.

Delivery of allocated housing sites in the Plan to be supported by a Housing Implementation Strategy.

The need for sound definition of settlement boundaries and village classification, to be remedied by the inclusion of the criteria used to define the boundaries.

Substantial amendments to policies on open space, sport and recreational facilities in order to address the Inspector's concerns and to set standards of provision required in association with new development.

Further changes to the RNOTP have been put forward by the Inspector, which the Council will need to accept in order for the Plan to be passed as "sound". The main changes required by the Inspector are set out below:

1. Inclusion of a phased housing development strategy for Oundle. Deliverable sites at Ashton Road/ Herne Road (145 dwellings), Creed Road (145) and Dairy Farm, Stoke Hill are to be developed within 5 years (Policy OUN3, Phase 1). These will be followed by the development of approximately 80 dwellings on the redundant Oundle School playing field site west of Glapthorn Road after 2014 (Policy OUN4, Phase 2).

2. References to housing density (policies 2 and 10, relating to design) are deleted, as these do not add anything over and above existing policies in the adopted North Northamptonshire Core Spatial Strategy (the RNOTP's "parent" document) or national policies. Policy 10 (Housing Density) is deleted altogether.

3. Deletion of Policy 16 (Wind Farms) and Policy 17 (Parish Plans and Village Design Statements), as these do not comply with the relevant national policies PPS1 Planning and Climate Change Supplement, PPS7, and PPS22.

4. Affordable housing policies have been extensively amended, to reflect the findings of research requested by the Inspector as a result of recent case law (Blythe Valley case, northern England). Policies have been revised to take account of the viability of development proposals to fund the required elements of social and affordable housing.

No significant changes in terms of economic policies (including employment land allocations), or to the Thrapston and rural areas development strategies.