New local plan: examination

New Wycombe District Local Plan submission

We submitted the new Wycombe District Local Plan on 28 March 2018 to the Secretary of State for examination in public. This follows on from the consultation on the regulation 19 publication version local plan in October and November 2017, and the various previous stages of the local plan's development.

The Planning Inspector

The Secretary of State has appointed independent planning inspector Nicola Gulley MA MRTPI to conduct an independent examination into the soundness and legal compliance of the Wycombe District Local Plan.

The consideration of the soundness of the local plan will be considered based on the criteria set out in paragraph 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). These criteria are whether the plan is:

  1. Positively prepared - assessing if the plan is based on a strategy that seeks to meet our objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so, and consistent with achieving sustainable development;
  2. Justified - assessing if the plan presents the most appropriate strategy when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;
  3. Effective - the plan should be deliverable over its period (2013-2033) and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and
  4. Consistent with national policy - the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework

The Planning Inspector will take into account the representations submitted as a part of the consultation on the Wycombe District Local Plan (regulation 19) publication version as far as they relate to soundness considerations.

The Planning Inspector has arranged a number of hearing sessions on principal matters. These will take the form of informal debates, and will be based on the matters, issues and questions identified by the Planning Inspector.

At the end of the examination process, the Inspector will submit her report, which may include modifications to the Plan should we request her to suggest modifications in order to overcome any soundness concerns. 

The Planning Inspector has prepared guidance notes to help explain the local plan examination process.

Any queries regarding the examination process should be directed to the Programme Officer, who will be happy to assist.

The Programme Officer

The Programme Officer, Ian Kemp, will act as the contact for any person who has an interest in the examination. He will act as a liaison between the Inspector, Wycombe District Council, and representors. He is an independent officer of the examination and works on the behalf of the Planning Inspector to organise and manage the administrative and procedural elements of the examination process. All statements will also be submitted through the Programme Officer.

Any matters that anyone wishes to raise with the Inspector should be submitted through the Programme Officer.

Programme Officer contact details

Ian Kemp
16 Cross Furlong
Droitwich Spa

Telephone: 01527 861 711
Mobile: 0772 300 9166

Local plan examination - next steps

The final scheduled hearing session for the Local Plan examination took place on 26 September 2018. At the end of the session the Inspector set out the way forward for the examination.

The examination is not over until the Inspector has submitted her report to the Council, but no indication was given that there would be any further hearings, although she could still choose to schedule some.

The Inspector is not producing an “interim report” but has posed further questions to the Council. The Council’s responses will be made available in due course.

There will be modifications needed to make the Plan “sound” and the Inspector has said that she will work with the Council to assemble those modifications. The aim is to publish the modifications for consultation at the beginning of January 2019 or possibly earlier depending on progress.

Based on the above timing the Inspector indicated that she would provide her report to the Council by 28 March 2019.

Hearing sessions venue and timetable

The examination hearings commenced at 1:30pm on Monday 16 July 2018 in the Council Chamber at the Wycombe District Council offices, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1BB, and adjourned on Thursday 26 July 2018. Further hearing sessions were held between Tuesday 4 September 2018 and Thursday 6 September 2018. A session was held on Wednesday 26 September 2018 to hear outstanding matters relating to Matter 8 (Princes Risborough development framework) and Matter 9 (Rural Areas development framework).

A programme for the examination hearing sessions was produced, which set out when the examination took place. The inspector issued her matters, issues and questions which were discussed at the hearings sessions.  

A version 3 of the Matters, Issues and Questions has been published. This includes a list of persons participating in the hearings. NB - version 2 of this document corrected an error in the previous version where the incorrect site was named against site reference HW21 in question 7.1(q)

Agendas for the hearing sessions have now been published. These follow the timetable previously issued by the inspector.

Written Statements

The following statements have been received in response to the Inspector's Matters, Issues and Questions.

Examination documents

The following documents were produced during the course of the examination of the Wycombe District Local Plan.

EXAM2 Local Plan examination action points and responses - Week 1

EXAM3 Local Plan examination action points and responses - Week 2

EXAM4 Outstanding action points position note (31 August 2018)

EXAM5 Local Plan examination action points and responses - Week 3

Exam 6 Inspector's follow-up questions

Exam 7 Tree preservation order, Picts Lane, Princes Risborough

Statements of common ground

The following statements of common ground were prepared during the examination of the Wycombe District Local Plan.

Evidence base documents

As a part of the process of preparing the Wycombe District Local Plan, a number of documents were referred to and informed the development of the local plan. These collectively form the evidence base for the examination.