The District Council in its latest update on the progress of developing a local plan says it hopes to submit its final draft of the plan to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2024 with a full adoption date pencilled in for March 2025.

New timetable set for Local Plan

Uttlesford District Council is in the process of drafting a new Local Plan that will be the blueprint for the way the district evolves over the coming decades. It will set our strategic priorities for future development, including sites for new housing, provision of infrastructure, and policies to protect our historic buildings and places.

Producing a local plan is a very complex process that requires a substantial amount of evidence and extensive consultations with the public and stakeholders. It is therefore not unusual for local planning authorities to need to change a local plan timetable as additional evidence emerges.

The council has chosen to take some additional time to explore as many options as possible to create a robust local plan that best meets the needs of the district. The most recent change to the timetable, approved by the Cabinet (7 July), allows for the evaluation and consideration of an additional emerging option which is considered worthy of further exploration to be included in the first draft of the plan.

The council is committed to inclusive engagement with residents throughout the process. The timetable, which is closely monitored by our Scrutiny Committee, includes three stages of public consultation.

The first “Issues & Options” stage was conducted in 2020/21 as a series of extensive consultations with the community and other stakeholders. This work was recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute for its innovative, virtual approach during the pandemic, and it generated over 2,600 views and more than 850 comments.

The second stage – the Regulation 18 “Preferred Options” Local Plan – will be published for public consultation later this year. The comments received at this stage will then be fully considered before submitting the plan to the government’s Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Key activity for the local plan:

  • Regulation 18 “Preferred Options” Local Plan will go to public consultation from 2 November to 12 December
  • Officers will then carry out further preparatory work before holding further meetings with governance groups ahead of publishing the Regulation 19 “Submission Draft” Local Plan for consultation in November and December 2023
  • Final preparatory work on the submission plan will happen in January and February 2024
  • The final draft of the plan, alongside the comments received from the Regulation 19 consultation, will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in May 2024
  • The council plans for adoption of the plan in March 2025

Documents related to the local plan can be found at: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/new-local-plan.