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BLP comments could go to inspector in spring, meeting told

Comments regarding the revised Borough Local Plan (BLP) could be brought to planning inspectors in the spring, a meeting was told last week.

A Royal Borough parish conference met in the Town Hall on Thursday, November 14, where James Carpenter, interim head of planning, updated parish councils on the controversial BLP.

The plan guides future developments in the borough until 2033.

A revised version, which was voted through by councillors last month, is up for consultation until Sunday, December 15.

“There is still plenty of time and plenty of work to do,” Mr Carpenter said.

“The right thing to do is getting a plan in place. It is much better to have a plan in place than not.”

Mr Carpenter told parishes that the plan could be implemented in 2021.

The meeting also heard from Peter Robinson, from CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

A leaked report from the institute, seen by the Advertiser in September, found a series of problems with the council’s finances.

Mr Robinson told attendees: “Local authorities have lost a lot of money.

“When costs go up and income from Government has gone down, it is a big hole to fill.”

The council has also ‘spent a lot of money’ on capital investments, he added.

Its level of reserves are also relatively low compared to other authorities, he said.

At the end of the meeting, the group said its farewells to Andy Jeffs, executive director for communities, who is leaving the council.

“I have not achieved everything I wanted to achieve, but we have achieved, as a group, an awful lot,” he said.

The next parish conference will be held on Monday, February 10.

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