Alton Town Council agreed to send the town plan, adopted in 2016, back to consultation at an extraordinary meeting last Wednesday, to ensure it remains up to date in the eyes of planning inspectors.
To do this, the council proposes removing any housing sites from the original plan which have now been built, and replacing them with sites likely to be built.
Specifically, it proposes adding the planned developments at the Alton brewery and magistrates’ court, both of which have already been granted planning permission, to the plan’s housing allocations.
If agreed, the modification would mean – in the event of an appeal to the secretary of state against a refusal of planning permission – Alton would only need to prove it has identified enough housing sites to meet government targets over three years, instead of the five-year requirement if there wasn’t an up-to-date neighbourhood plan.
A public consultation on Alton’s ‘modification proposal’ launched on Tuesday, and will run until 5pm on March 30.
Alton town clerk Leah Coney said: “Once everyone’s comments have been received, we will review the proposal, make any alterations and then submit a final version to East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) as they are the local planning authority.
“EHDC will then also carry out a further consultation and review before submitting our modified plan to an appointed external examiner for approval. At this stage it is anticipated our modified plan will be approved this autumn.”
The modifications to Alton’s town plan are limited to its housing allocation policies only, with all other policies agreed five years ago not subject to change.
Paper copies can also be found at the Town Hall and the library (check opening times), or call the Town Hall on 01420 83986 to request a copy by post. Comments can also be sent by post to Alton Town Council, Town Hall, Market Square, Alton, GU34 1HD.