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View north towards Holy Innocents church. William Turrell 16 October 2022

Local Plan latest: new draft due early March

(updated )

News roundup:

  • Cross-party working group met at end of July for first time, now meeting fortnightly

  • Redrafting process expected to take 6 months: August 2023 to approx. January 2024

  • Aim to publish new Draft plan around Jan/Feb March 2024, then another "Regulation 18" consultation

  • Hearings to examine Dover District Council's Local Plan begin 14 November (for four weeks)

CARE had a productive meeting with Adisham and Little Stour councillor Lee Castle on Saturday 23 September. We discussed the overall progress of the Local Plan and a range of village matters including waste and recycling, school bus services and issues affecting the woods (such as planning and use of byways).

There's little to add on the redrafting of the plan, beyond what we've been reporting since July; the group doing the work meets in private and details about individual developments won't be released until the whole plan is ready.

However the council has already indicated its focus on improving public transport, primarily bus services, rather than building new bypasses. As was clear at the May local elections, the city centre traffic zoning proposal is to be dropped.

A cross-party "working group", formed in July and chaired by Pat Edwards (Labour), is redrafting the plan. It has nine members - four Labour, two Liberal Democrat, two Conservative and one Green). They meet fortnightly. The feedback from the previous consultation is being studied as part of this.

The new Draft Plan will be presented to council members around January or February 2024 - no exact date yet. It's at this point we will know if R1 (the Adisham/Aylesham new town), R20 (Womenswold) and R22 (10 houses on Station Road) are still included.

Once the new plan is published, councillors vote on beginning a new Regulation 18 consultation process.

There remains the possibility to reduce the plan's length so it ends earlier than 2045 - an idea originally advanced by the Lib Dems. Whether that happens depends on the sizes of any sites that are removed from (or added to) the previous draft. It is a circular relationship: the plan length determines the overall number of new houses the government require the council to build, using a national calculation called the "standard method".

In a press release on 12 July, the Council confirmed the formation of a cross-party working group and a new 12-week "Section 18" consultation on the redrafted plan once published. (Kentish Gazette report)

Plan Process

  • working group redrafts previous plan

  • Draft Plan published, council votes to put it out to consultation

  • Regulation 18 consultation (public, local groups, interested parties respond)

  • Council analyses feedback, produces a revised plan

  • Regulation 19 consultation (tighter restrictions on type of feedback that can be given)

  • Council amends and submits its final plan to government inspector

  • Inspector conducts Examination in Public to determine if plan is "sound" and meets legal requirements

  • Inspector determines if plan can be adopted

Sturry Road Park and Ride

On Tue 1 August the council considered a report on reopening Sturry Road Park and Ride and voted in favour. The site, which was "mothballed" in April 2022, is now expected to reopen in April 2024.

Dover District Council

We are also following developments with Dover's Local Plan, which is at a more advanced stage and includes developments affecting Aylesham and Womenswold.

One of the tasks of the EiP is to determine that neighbouring local authorities have co-operated with one another when preparing their plans.

Hearings for the Examination in Public will begin at the council offices in Whitfield on 14 November 2023. The first three weeks will be in person and the final week online. Read the programme and list of questions.

Council size

The council voted to increase the number of councillors from 39 to 50, reversing the 2015 reduction. This would have meant, from the next election (2027), that each councillor would have a smaller ward, although it would have cost more. However this change was rejected by the Local Government Boundary Association.

This article was first published on 8 July 2023 and has been updated with new information. It was also corrected on 30 July to increase the number of members of the working party from seven to nine.