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New national guidance concerning the examination of local plans by inspectors was issued in June 2019. The new guidance confirms (in paragraph 1.19) that:
“..To ensure an effective and fair examination, it is also important that the Inspector and all other participants in the examination process are able to know who has made representations on the plan. The [Council] should therefore ensure that they are able, lawfully, to process personal data held in relation to representations on the plan so that the representations can be made available without redaction of names and addresses and taken into account by the examining Inspector”.
The guidance also states (in paragraph 2.4) that:
"The examination website is the principal means by which all the documents for the examination are made available to participants and the public"
The guidance therefore indicates that when the council publishes the representations received about the Plan (as it must do under national regulations) it should do so with names and addresses of respondents visible.
In accordance with advice received from the Information Commissioner's Office, the council has contacted those who made representations to advise them of this new position. You can view a copy of the information sent to respondents.
If you do not want your name or postal address to be made publicly available, we would be grateful if you would let us know by e-mail or letter to be received by us by 18 October 2019 at the latest. Our contact details for this purpose are:
In any cases where respondents do not want their name or address to be published but still wish their response to be considered, we propose to seek the inspector’s advice (once they are appointed). Please note, however, that under the new national guidance referred to above, we cannot guarantee that the inspector will consider any representations where the name or address is not visible.
Where a representation has five or more signatories, we have treated them as a petition. In such cases, we still propose to redact the names and addresses of all signatories except the principal petitioner (who would have their name and address made publicly available). Where a representation has fewer than five signatories, the advice set out above applies.
The St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020-2035 Submission Draft was the subject of consultation from 17 January 2019 until 13 May 2019. The council received more than 2,000 responses to the consultation, which have been collated and are being carefully considered as the council works towards submission of the plan.
The next stage in the Local Plan process is for the Local Plan Submission Draft, supporting documentation and all of the responses received from the consultation to be submitted to the government. An independent planning inspector will then be appointed to examine the plan.
As part of the examination, the inspector will hold public hearing sessions to discuss the plan. It is anticipated that the plan will be submitted to the government in autumn 2019, with public hearings likely to take place in the spring.
If you submitted a response during the Local Plan Submission Draft consultation, you will receive an email or letter from the council notifying you when the plan has been submitted to the government for examination.
To view documents, see our Local Plan page.