08:00 Monday 20 January 2014

Council close to finalising crucial housing plan

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

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A VITAL blueprint which will give a council greater control in shaping the future of South Derbyshire is close to being finalised.

Bosses at South Derbyshire District Council revealed that the authority is on course to have its local plan in place by spring, which sets out which parts of the district should be built on.

Local authorities across the country were given the chance to prepare the plans in readiness for the onslaught of housing developments to serve a growing population, but currently only around half have them in place.

East Staffordshire Borough Council is still in the process of forming its local plan, which went out to consultation at the back end of last year.

The plans allow councils and residents to have more of a say on where houses are built.

Without them, councils’ powers to prevent applications are limited with many feeling they are left at the mercy of developers.

Even if the local authority rejects an application, it is often overturned at appeal.

Speaking about the progress South Derbyshire District Council had made in being close to formulate its plan, district councillor Martyn Ford said: “Hopefully be March we should be able to say where our developers are going.

“There has been a stream of developers trying it on all over the county. Often they are turned down by the local authority but it is then overturned at appeal.”

Like many parts of the country, many developments are in the pipeline for South Derbyshire in the coming years.

These include applications to build 485 homes on former Ministry of Defence land in Hilton and 185 homes off William Nadin Way, near Swadlincote town centre.

In November, it was revealed the plan, which also outlines the locations of new employment sites and potential new infrastructure, including schools and roads, would be focused on ‘protecting and enhancing the rural character’ in areas such as Castle Gresley and Overseal.

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