Newcastle-under-Lyme gears up for local plan process

Written by: Colin Marrs
Published on: 2 Sep 2016

Newcastle Under Lyme Flickr MikeyDemands on resources stemming from the need to get a local plan in place before 2018 mean an expansion for Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.

The council has started preparing a new joint local plan with its neighbour Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

It is now adding an additional member of staff to the team to work on coordinating work on the plan.

Helen Beech, planning policy manager at the council told Planning: “We are looking for someone to help project manage the preparation of the plan to make sure we stick to our timetable, anticipating and addressing problems to ensure things move as smoothly as possible.”

In 2015, the government said it will take over the preparation of plans if authorities had not produced them by 2017.

But Beech said: “Our understanding is that we can avoid this scenario if we have a draft plan in place. We are aware that if we don’t keep on top of things that we could slip into that category and we don’t want that to happen.”

She added that the main challenge in preparing the plan would be identifying enough land to support growth in a borough that faces green belt constraints.

In addition, the plan will look to support the expansion of Keele University from 3,000 to up to 12,000 students.

The council is also looking to replace two members of staff in the planning team who have now left, as well as appointing a neighbourhood planning officer.

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Image of Newcastle-Upon-Lyme by Mikey, Flickr.