Initial disappointment at WLMP EIP
The Examination in Public (EiP) hearing sessions for the Worcester Local Minerals Plan (the plan) were held from 11 November 2020 to 13 November 2020. A further session, to consider the schedule of proposed Main Modifications, was held on 18 December 2020. Due to COVID-19, the hearings were held virtually. All hearing sessions were broadcast live and recordings of the sessions are available through a link on the Programme Officer’s examination website.
Following the December 2020 hearing session WCC were tasked with making further Main Modifications to the plan and producing a schedule of proposed Additional Modifications. These schedules will be published in 2021. Once these are prepared WCC will be consulting on the Main Modifications arising from the examination process. They are anticipating this consultation taking place as soon as practicable after the Council Elections. Following the consultation the responses will be referred back to the Inspectors who will take into account any representations made in response to that consultation. They may then have a further hearing prior to issuing their report. The report is the last stage in the examination procedure. Once their final report is received, likely towards the end of this year, it will be put to Cabinet and Full Council for a decision as to whether to adopt the plan.
With regard to comments on the “Planning Permission will be granted” against each section of the policy we wanted this changed to “may be supported”. Whilst WCC were happy with this suggested alteration the planning Inspectors view was that the original wording was sound and should stand. This is on the basis that the Plan is to be read as a whole and that within the context of planning law the decision-makers will give appropriate weight to each policy and other material considerations at the time of each planning application.
WCC are also preparing a “Preferred Options Document” in which sites recommended by WCC for minerals extraction will be confirmed. WCC expect this to be completed Q3/4 2021, with further consultation planned for Q1/2 2022.
Although the plan by Tarmac to extract sand and gravel in the fields surrounding Charlton has been withdrawn, the Parish Councils and other interested parties continue to monitor the progress of the plan and will report any significant events via the facebook page and website.