Residents, business people and community groups have an extra three weeks to respond to the latest phase of Epping Forest District Council`s consultation on future planning policies. Anyone wishing to comment now has until 9 July 2010 to get their replies back to the council online, by e-mail or post to the Civic Offices in Epping.
The Core Strategy is the key new planning policy document which will look ahead to 2031. It eventually replaces the Local Plan and will set the local planning policies of the district. The Core Strategy is important because it will guide the council`s decisions on planning applications for development including housing, businesses and high streets. With other documents it will form the Local Development Framework, helping to balance development with the protection of the green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings and other features that make the district unique.
Part of the preparation involves the assessment of economic, environmental and social issues facing the district. This is called a Sustainability Appraisal. However, before the Sustainability Appraisal can be carried out, the council needs local residents to consider what issues they think should be included in the assessment. This is set out in the `Scoping Report` that residents are being asked to comment on at the moment.
We hit some teething problems when the consultation was launched last month so we have decided to give residents more time to respond, said Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council. This is a very complicated process. We produced a Plain English guide but our accompanying letters were confusing to residents. I hope we have now learned from our mistake and the information is being presented in a much more understandable way.
The Council is writing to and e-mailing several thousand residents who participated in earlier consultation exercises and indicated they would like to be kept involved. However, anyone can take part.
Councillor Collins said: I would encourage everyone to look at the information on the website or ask for a copy from the Council. Recent remarks by Eric Pickles MP, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government seem to suggest that councils will have much more control over local development than previously. It is therefore all the more important that local people have their say.
Residents can complete a survey form by contacting the Forward Planning team by telephone on 01992 564517 or by email.