My last post noted that the SDNPA & WSCC had cancelled their proposed December engagement meeting. I wrote to them to seek clarification on how they planned to engage with local people including Bepton Parish Council.
The SDNPA have replied as follows, “it was not possible to hold the December event due to work taking longer than originally anticipated. There will be opportunities for informal engagement when the technical and sustainability work has been carried out on the sites, this is likely to be in early summer and you will be informed of dates nearer the time. I will also use our West Sussex Parishes meeting to provide an update on progress.
Again I can only apologise for the delay in the above work, which is a joint exercise with West Sussex County Council. I appreciate that this delay has led to a longer period of uncertainty for parishes and residents but it is important that the evidence on which the Minerals Plan will be based is thorough and accurate, particularly when dealing with the creation of a new Minerals Plan for two distinct Local Planning Authorities against a very old existing Plan. This is far more than a Review and demands close attention to all the new planning elements. Engagement with the parishes and communities over the coming year will help to do this … .”
It is apparent from this and the previous response that the process is taking a lot longer than initially envisaged. The March 2014 Minerals and Waste Development Scheme (the ‘project plan’ they are required to publish) envisaged submitting the draft Minerals Plan to the Secretary of State in January 2016; this has now changed to “Spring 2017”, prolonging the uncertainty even further.
We shall continue to keep you informed.