We have just received a draft programme for the first three weeks of the inquiry and the Kent Science Park has been allocated a session on Thursday 23rd March. This will be divided into an AM 9:30 – 13:00 and PM 14:00 – 17:00 session.
Paul Sharpe representing the Kent Science Park and Kevin Attwood one of the two landowners are to put their case forward during the AM session.
Our representative, Rosemary Lansdowne along with Derek Wyatt MP, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and a few other individuals will have the PM session.
How long is the inquiry expected to last?
The programme officer has provided some indication that there will be 12 weeks of sessions which are split into four groups each last three weeks. Looking at some initial dates there are also gaps in between these groups with the very first session starting on week commencing the 6th March and the last on the week commencing 26th June.
Sessions only run from Tuesday to Thursday with a half day on Fridays.
How long will the Inspector take to reach his conclusions?
Based purely on passed experience it is our view that it is most unlikely that the Inspector will publish anything in 2006 and it may even be optimistic to expect anything very early in 2007.
How does this fit in with the Kent & Medway Structure Plan?
This is a question everyone has been asking since the Kent & Medway Structure has not yet been published. The inquiry was over held over a year ago, the inspector published his report in February 2005 and now the Kent County Council has just issued further documents for deliberation. In short the Swale Local Plan has had to proceed without a formal Structure Plan in place.
Further Proposed Changes?
Yes, we have just had confirmation that Swale Borough Council are to issue their third set of changes post public consultation of the 2nd Draft of the Local Plan. This consists of 79 individual changes to policies across the entire plan. As we understand it this means a further public consultation excise, with representation to be made by 20th February 2006, just two weeks before the inquiry starts.
Of particular note, is the increased housing provision, apparently in response to accept September 2005 Kent & Medway Structure Plan Modifications on housing numbers for Swale. It should be noted that a) the Structure is not yet formalised, b) this does not take into account the additional 1,200 that Swale may have to accept from Gravesham.
Of course as evenly divided as ever Faversham get an extra 100 taking their total to 1,000 over the next ten years and Sittingbourne and Sheppey get an extra 700 taking our total to 7,300 over the next ten years.