Just a week to go. The team at Fight4Rutland has reminded me that we’ve only got until 6 November to engage with the final Consultation on the Local Plan.
How can you make a difference right now?
Rutland’s latest Local Plan has at its heart the building of 2,315 houses on the MoD’s St George’s Barracks site between North Luffenham and Edith Weston (yep, that’s very close to Morcott: if we think the Tip traffic is a problem you just wait….).
While Rutland needs new houses that people under 40 can afford to buy, it needs them in the right places: the sites identified in the 2017 Local Plan – around Oakham, Uppingham, Cottesmore, Ketton, Greetham and other ‘local service centre’ villages. It doesn’t need them all in one place close to Rutland Water, and the plan as it stands means the ‘garden community’ is more likely to be a car-dependent commuter town with little more than a corner shop and a cashpoint machine.
There’s one major stumbling block: at this point in the planning process a well-worded letter of protest won’t hack it. This is a technical Consultation in which the Local Plan is judged against the National Planning Policy Framework. Is it ‘sound’? Is it ‘legal’? Frankly, you need to be a planning geek to get your head around it all.
Fight4Rutland is a group of volunteers from around the county who are working hard to challenge RCC’s not-very-democratic processes: after all, well over 1000 people objected to plans for St George’s Barracks in 2018 but the Plan still includes it. With support from individuals and parish councils Fight4Rutland have raised enough money to get expert advice from planners and a QC so they can make a robust challenge.
But we can do our bit too, and here’s how. You could make your own individual response in a manner that is compliant. There are guidance notes on RCC’s site and Fight4Rutland’s site to help you.
BUT I confess it’s not easy: you need to be really engaged with the process and possibly a planning nerd!
The much easier way is for us to add our individual names to Fight4Rutland’s official 10-point response. You can do that through their website.
First, read F4R’s 10-point challenge to the Local Plan which I am attaching as a PDF document:
Then, to formally support F4R you need to give them your name, postcode and email address, which you can do via this link: https://us10.list-manage.com/survey?u=16fe7c161963f3e0198ac4bd1&id=b9b7f060e7
Rutland County Council is obliged to collate key objections and put them in front of an independent Planning Inspector who will judge the Local Plan against these four key tests.
- Has the Local Plan been positively prepared?
- Is it justified?
- Is it effective?
- Is it consistent with National Planning Policy?
Fight4Rutland deserves our support: while St George’s Barracks is the biggest single threat to England’s smallest county, there are other issues that concern residents and in the longer term Fight4Rutland can provide a focus for those who feel that individual voices are not heard.