Our apologies for the radio silence since the Local Plan Examination Hearings concluded in mid-July. The only reason is that we have had no significant news to share with you. At the end of the Hearings the Inspector indicated that his initial “Report” would take between four to six weeks to compile; thereby the end of August/beginning of September.
On the 23rd of September the Programme Officer posted an update on to the Local Plan Examination website page indicating that additional documents requested by the Inspector had now been added under “Stage 2 Actions“. We understand that TWBC then expected to receive the Inspector’s initial findings “imminently” (the Oxford English Dictionary definition is “likely to happen very soon”). Here we are at the end of October and STILL NO NEWS!
Hence, the title of this brief update we are “TIRED OF WAITING”! Some of you may remember this as a song released by the Kinks in 1965 – its words are very apt today!
The “Report” will actually be an Indicative Letter of his findings and details of the Next Steps. These could include finding the Plan “sound subject to main modifications”. If that happens, we will get the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed changes and to make further representations to the Inspector.
On your behalf, and in the meantime, we are not being idle. We are continuing to monitor what is happening with other Local Plan Examinations and the work of other Campaign Groups similar to ours. Amongst these are Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) and the protestors against proposed developments at Lenham Heath and Lidsing. The Inspector at MBC has taken a very different approach to Mr Birkinshaw. MBC tried to submit some “new evidence” where the Inspector suspended the hearings for six weeks so that all parties could absorb and respond to the new evidence, and also told MBC that no further new evidence would be allowed. Sadly, Mr Birkinshaw allowed TWBC to insert “new evidence” on a number of occasions during the Hearings and subsequently. We are noting this, and other inconsistencies, in case our campaign needs to use them further down the line.
Also, we have written to the Programme Officer to respectfully ask for a date of publication; we travel in hope rather than expectation that it will be “imminent”.
Finally, and following a further change in the Conservative Party Leadership, we are preparing a letter to go to the new Prime Minister and Michael Gove the Minister for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (second time around!), and his new Housing Minister. The focus of this communication will be Rishi Sunak’s promises to reduce the annual house building target of 300,000 p.a., and to not allow building on the Green Belt as per his tweet when contesting the leadership plus some other titbits we have pointed to previous holders of the roles, may we say without response!
As soon as we have the Report and been able to digest its contents, and then start to build our response to them, we will update you all.
As ever, the Save Capel Executive would like to thank you all for your continuing support. If anyone is interested in contributing more to the campaign please contact us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!
Stewart, Ian, Dave, Maggie, Charlie, Jan, and Mark