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St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020-2035 Examination

Latest Examination News

Please see archived examination news for old news items.

07/09/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following documents:

In response to Action Point 1 arising from the Hearing session for Matters 10/11, the council has provided the Inspectors with two recently published SoS decisions relating to logistics sites in Bolton and Wigan. These are for information only, to assist in providing the context.

07/09/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following document:

The Inspectors have issued post hearing advice to the council (see INSP014). The Inspectors are not inviting comments from other parties at this stage. There will be an opportunity to make representations later in the examination, particularly when consultation on any Main Modifications necessary to make the Plan sound is carried out.

01/09/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following document:

In response to an action arising from Matters 6 & 7 of the Examination, the council has produced a note on employment land uptake.

18/08/21 - The council has responded to the Inspectors’ letter of 30 July 2021 and provided updated housing supply tables and trajectory (see below). The Inspectors are not inviting comments from other parties at this stage. There will be an opportunity to make representations later in the examination, particularly when consultation on any Main Modifications necessary to make the Plan sound is carried out.

The Examination Library has been updated with the following documents:

13/08/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following documents:

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matter 4 Session 4 (Action Point 1).

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matters 10/11 (Action Point 5).

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matter 3 (Action Point 7).

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matter 7 (Action Point 15).

30/07/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:
The council will now update the housing trajectory and consider the implications of the revised Framework. The Inspectors are not inviting comments from other parties at this stage. There will be an opportunity to make representations later in the examination, particularly when consultation on any Main Modifications necessary to make the Plan sound is carried out.

27/07/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following document:

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matters 8/9 (Action Point 7).

13/07/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following document:

This note has been published in response to a request made by the Inspectors during Matter 4 Session 6 (Action Point 5).

12/07/21 - The Examination Library has been updated with the following documents:

06/07/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following documents:

30/06/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

24/06/21 - The Inspectors closed the hearing sessions which form part of the St Helens Local Plan Examination on 24 June 2021. As outlined at the review session, the Inspectors will consider what was said at the hearings alongside the other evidence before the examination. There is also a number of actions for the council to undertake arising from the hearings. In the meantime no further written material will be accepted. However, there will be an opportunity to make representations later in the examination, particularly when consultation on any Main Modifications necessary to make the Plan sound is carried out.

15/06/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include:

A schedule of SHLAA sites where there is disagreement between the council and representors on delivery. This document will assist discussion on Matter 5, Issue 2, Question 10b.

11/06/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include:

SHBC014 - Amion note on the socio-economic effects of the Parkside West Phase 1 proposal (submitted to the associated public inquiry)
SHBC015 - Note on the LCR freeport and Parkside
SHBC016 - Letter from Freightliner regarding Parkside East

As part of discussions during Matter 4, session 6, issue 1 relating to Parkside East (site 7EA) and Parkside West (8EA) these three specific documents were referred to by several parties. The Inspectors therefore requested that copies be provided by the council so they could be added to the Examination Library.

07/06/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

An addendum (June 2021) to the Sustainability Appraisal has been prepared as a result of the discussions in the Matter 1 session, and the associated identified action.

03/06/21 - The following documents have been added to the Examination Library:

02/06/21 - A Statement of Common Ground between the council and Highways England has been completed and has been added to the Examination Library as SD031.

19/05/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

The council has produced a table showing the spatial distribution of housing supply in response to a request from the Inspectors. The table will be referred to at the hearings, particularly those relating to Matters 3, 4 and 5.

17/05/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following documents:

The council has drawn up a Draft Schedule of Main Modifications in response to the Inspectors’ preliminary questions (see SHBC010). The Schedule is aimed at helping discussion at the hearing sessions. The Schedule will be refined during the examination and will in due course be subject to formal consultation, provided the Inspectors consider that such Main Modifications are necessary to resolve issues of legal compliance or unsoundness.

12/05/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following documents:

All in response to the Inspectors' requests and questions. The documents may be discussed at the relevant hearing session.

04/05/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

The Inspectors' Initial Questions in relation to the Generic and Development Management Polices (INSP004) included Q43, which asked whether a lower threshold, of say 10 dwellings, had been assessed for provision of, or contribution to, open space in terms of its impact on viability. The council confirmed in their response (SHBC002) that this lower threshold of say 10 dwellings was not formally tested through the Economic Viability Assessment (VIA001).

The follow-up questions from the Inspectors dated 29 March 2021 ask that consideration be given to such testing in advance of the hearings and a note published on this matter to supplement the Economic Viability Assessment (VIA001).

The purpose of this briefing note is therefore to address the Inspectors requirements in relation to this viability testing based on 10 dwellings.

27/04/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

The Inspectors have requested a response from the council by 7 May 2021. The Inspectors are not inviting comments from other parties at this stage. They want to clarify the council’s position first. All parties with relevant representations will have the opportunity to respond in advance of the hearings should they wish. Please note that employment land and town centre policies are due to be discussed during week 3 of the examination (Session 8 – Thursday 17 June 2021, Matter 6). As set out in the Examination Guidance Note, the deadline for the receipt of hearing statements for week 3 is 17:00 on Friday 28 May 2021. Participants are also reminded that they can choose to rely on the content of their original representations and there is no requirement to produce a hearing statement.

23/04/21 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

12/04/2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

09/04/2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following documents:

30/03/2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

29/03/2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

16/03/2021 - A map showing the general extent of the Green Belt in the Liverpool City Region and neighbouring authorities has been added to the Examination Library at the Inspectors’ request (SD030).

15/03/2021 - The council has provided a response to the Inspectors' preliminary questions on Site Allocations and Safeguarded Land (SHBC005). This document can be viewed in the Examination Library. There will be an opportunity to comment on this document once the Inspectors have formulated the Matters, Issues and Questions for the Examination but, until such time, no representations will be accepted.

01/03/2021 - The council has provided a response to the Inspectors' preliminary questions on Generic and Development Management Policies (SHBC002), a Background Paper on Open Space (SHBC003) and further evidence on housing supply, including updated SHLAA site assessments (SHBC004). These documents can be viewed in the Examination Library. There will be an opportunity to comment on these documents once the Inspectors have formulated the Matters, Issues and Questions for the Examination but, until such time, no representations will be accepted.

18/02/2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following document:

The Inspectors have requested a response from the council by 12 March 2021. The Inspectors are not inviting comments from other parties at this stage. They want to clarify the council’s position first. This will help them to refine MIQs for the remainder of the examination and the hearings. All parties with relevant representations will have the opportunity to respond in advance of the hearings should they wish.

01/02/2021 - The council has responded to some of the Inspectors' preliminary questions (SHBC001). This can be viewed in the Examination Library. A further council response is expected by the end of February. There will be an opportunity to comment once the Inspectors have formulated the Matters, Issues and Questions for the Examination but, until such time, no representations will be accepted. 

25/01/2021 - The Heritage Background Paper SD023 has been amended to include a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed employment site west of Haydock Industrial Estate (6EA). This HIA was omitted from the background paper in error. There will be an opportunity to comment on this updated document later in the examination process.

January 2021 - The Examination Library has been updated to include the following documents:

The Inspectors have provided preliminary views on matters and issues for the examination, including some initial questions and comments for the council to consider (INSP003 and INSP004).

The Planning Inspectorate have appointed Mark Dakeyne BA (Hons) MRTPI and Victoria Lucas LLB (Hons) MCD MRTPI as Planning Inspectors to hold an independent examination of the St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020-2035.

The Inspectors' task is to consider the soundness of the submitted plan. The Inspectors will also consider whether the Local Plan meets the requisite legal and procedural requirements. In order to do so, the Inspectors will assess the Local Plan, the evidence base on which it was created, as well as all of the representations submitted during the public consultations.

Programme Officer

Kerry Trueman has been appointed as the Programme Officer for the examination and will deal with all procedural and administrative matters. She is independent from the council and reports directly to the Inspectors. Kerry is responsible for the day-to-day organisation of the Examination and will act as a channel of communication between the Inspectors and all parties, including council officers and representors.

All correspondence or queries relating to the Examination should be directed to the Programme Officer.

The Programme Officer has written to all representors with details of the examination process (see INSP001) and may make contact again at various stages of the examination.

Contact details:

Submission Documents 

In accordance with Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended), St Helens Borough Council submitted the St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020 – 2035 Submission Draft (2019) to the Secretary of State on 29 October 2020 for examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

The submitted documents include the following:

The Submission Documents include some that have only recently been published – a draft schedule of changes (SD003), an updated Infrastructure Delivery Plan (SD013), Green Belt Review Stage 2B proformas (SD021) and a number of Background Papers (SD22-28). There will be an opportunity to comment on these documents later in the examination process.

The format of the Regulation 22 Consultation Statement (SD004) has been amended at the Inspectors’ request. The updated document replaces the original submission document.

Paper copies of the Local Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal, the Consultation Statement and the Draft Schedule of Changes are available for inspection at all St Helens Borough Council libraries that are currently open: Chester Lane Library, Eccleston Library, Newton-le-Willows Library, Parr Library and St Helens Library. Please check the latest library opening times.

Consultation responses to the St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020 – 2035 Submission Draft (2019) can be viewed in the Examination Library. A report summarising all of the consultations for the Local Plan can also be found in the Examination Library.

A number of informal debates are likely to take place on the principle matters identified by the Inspectors; these are termed Hearing Sessions. At the end of the Examination, the Inspectors will prepare a report to the council with precise recommendations; these recommendations may include modifications to the plan, if such a request is made by the council.

Guidance notes will be prepared by the Inspectors to help people understand the process and will be available in due course. Any queries you may have about the Examination process should be directed to the Programme Officer, who will be happy to assist.

We process your personal data as part of our public task to provide planning and development guidance, and will retain this in line with our Information and Records Management Policy. For more information on what we do and on your rights, please read our Privacy Notice and the council's generic data protection webpage.

Read the Planning Inspectorate’s procedure guide and the Planning Inspectorate’s privacy statement for Local Plan examinations.

A Data Sharing Agreement between St Helens Borough Council and the Planning Inspectorate relating to the St Helens Borough Local Plan has been prepared.

Timeline of Key Dates 

  • Thursday 18th February 2021 - Publication of Further Inspectors' Preliminary Matters & Issues on Site Allocations and Safeguarded Land

  • Friday 22nd January 2021 - Publication of Further Inspectors' Preliminary Matters & Issues and Soundness

  • Wednesday 23rd December 2020 - Publication of Inspectors' Preliminary Matters & Issues and Soundness

  • Monday 21st December 2020 - Publication of Provisional Hearings Programme and Examination Guidance Notes

  • Thursday 5th November 2020 - Appointment of Planning Inspectors

  • Thursday 29th October 2020 - Submission of the St Helens Borough Local Plan 2020 – 2035 Submission Draft (2019) to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination

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