The St Helens Borough Local Plan has been officially adopted with approval by members at a meeting of the Full Council today (Tuesday 12 July).
Setting out the borough’s existing needs for housing, employment, infrastructure and services, together with its future development plans, the Local Plan strikes a balance between growth, prosperity and quality of life for residents over the next 15 years.
The plan includes the main modifications recommended by independent Planning Inspectors who, with the inclusion of these modifications, consider the plan ‘sound’ in accordance with national policy. The main modifications do not fundamentally alter the plan and the key elements remain the same.
In reaching adoption the Local Plan has gone through four public consultations at various stages in its development.
The Local Plan sets out a housing requirement over the plan period (2016-2037) of 10,206 dwellings. The Planning Inspectors concluded that the proposed allocations to meet housing need are appropriate, including those sites to be released from the Green Belt.
The plan proposes to use six per cent of St Helens Borough’s Green Belt land, retaining 59 per cent – still the highest percentage in Merseyside.
The Local Plan will also support the £25m Town Deal Fund proposals and the council’s ambitions for the regeneration of civic buildings in both St Helens and Earlestown town centres.
Councillor Richard McCauley, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said:
“We have developed a balanced plan for a better future for our borough, now adopted at council. During its development, the plan has been extensively consulted on with our residents and partners, and it has been thoroughly examined by independent planning inspectors who deem the plan sound.
“We want St Helens to be a vibrant, attractive, and prosperous borough. We want local people to benefit from a good choice of quality and affordable homes, skilled local jobs, efficient infrastructure, beautiful open green spaces, good transport links and better health and wellbeing.
“These aspirations are at the heart of our Local Plan, and I’m delighted that it will now guide local growth and development for our borough over the coming years.”
Councillor David Baines, Council Leader, added:
“The Local Plan has been a monumental undertaking by this council, and its adoption truly is a momentous step forward for our borough. St Helens is now served by an aspirational, balanced and sound plan of development for new homes and employment over the next 15 years.
“Without a local plan, required by Government, our borough would be vulnerable to applications for development over which we would have little control and no basis to refuse. That is something we cannot allow.
“Our plan has been shaped by your feedback, it will prioritise previously developed brownfield land, and it will protect the vast majority of our Green Belt. And ultimately it will provide the homes that residents need – that many families and first-time buyers hope for to stay local – and the growth in jobs that our borough is capable of and deserves. Now we can begin to deliver it.”
The Local Plan can be viewed online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/localplan.