Epping Forest District’s Full Council met on Tuesday 18th October and approved the Draft Local Plan for public consultation.

The Council will now run a consultation on the Draft Local Plan for six weeks from 31st October to 12th December to gain feedback from the Epping Forest District community.

A questionnaire is also available on the website from 31st October to 12th December so it is as simple and straightforward to provide your feedback to the Planning Policy team.

The Council is organising public exhibitions in Epping, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Ongar and North Weald in early November, with a number of static information points available throughout the consultation period across the District so you can find out more. You can find out where and when the consultation events will take place on our News and Events page.

The Draft Local Plan sets out the proposed strategy to meet the economic and housing growth in the District up until 2033, identifying potential sites for development and regeneration and sets out proposed draft development management policies. It also outlines the necessary infrastructure to support the development.

Councillor John Philip, Epping Forest District Council Planning Policy Portfolio Holder, explained:

“A Local Plan is our best opportunity to guide how the District grows and to protect ourselves from inappropriate development. Without a Local Plan we are vulnerable to developers taking the opportunity to submit applications for sites that we do not consider appropriate or sustainable.

“This Plan has been progressed with over 130 pieces of evidence and technical work, and has been shaped through thousands of pieces of feedback we received from residents through consultations in 2010/2011 and 2012.

“The Draft Local Plan represents a balance between the requirement from Government to deliver the identified and evidenced need for economic and housing growth, and the need to protect the greenness of our District. We are trying to do this by ensuring it is delivered in as sensitive, sustainable and fair a way as possible across the whole District.

“With 92% of Epping Forest District designated as Metropolitan Green Belt, we have been clear all along we will do our best to follow what you told us and so it seeks to ensure that, as far as possible, the Green Belt is protected for future generations, whilst providing for our housing needs.”

Epping Forest District Council has been working with neighbouring authorities in Harlow, East Hertfordshire and Uttlesford in order to achieve a cross border understanding of the level of growth needed up until 2033.

With a growing and ageing population, current evidence shows that Epping Forest District needs to deliver approximately 11,400 new homes over the Plan period.

The Draft Local Plan proposes the allocation of approximately 3,900 new homes on strategic sites within Epping Forest District on the edge of Harlow.

Councillor John Philip commented:

“This will be your Local Plan and the consultation is our opportunity as a community to ensure development in Epping Forest District takes place how and where we want it to.”

The Council can only accept feedback on the Draft Local Plan until 12th December 2016.