MAJOR plans to shape the future of the county are set to get underway as planning bosses kickstart work on a local plan for Buckinghamshire.

This project will lead to decisions on new housing, improving town centres, developing transport links, managing the countryside, creating employment space, working on the council’s climate agenda, and much more.

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Having officially come into existence on 1 April 2020, the new Buckinghamshire Council needs to create its local plan within five years.

This will involve many steps in the development of the plan over the coming years.

The first stage is to get preparations underway for the project, which will mean developing the plan’s vision, calling for potentially usable sites across the county, working with neighbouring authorities, and more.

The Free Press has created an interactive timeline which explains the steps which will be taken over the next few years in the creation of the plan. 

View the timeline at here

If all the steps are followed in a timely way without delay, the plan is expected to be officially adopted by the council by late 2024.

This means it can then be used to determine planning applications over the next few decades.

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Although no official timescale has been set for how long the plan should last, a report detailing the plan suggests it could be used up to 2050.

The council’s top team is set to meet next week to discuss the start of the project following the publication of a report outlining the steps the authority has to take in the coming years.

The report notes:

The new local plan should be a strategic document which focuses on the “key challenges for the area”

Those challenges include dealing with growth in Oxfordshire, possible Heathrow expansion, development pressures in Milton Keynes and Slough, government planning reforms, and more.

The council has to consider existing local plans and support neighbourhood planning and concedes the likelihood is “there will be significant gaps in neighbourhood plan coverage across Buckinghamshire, with much of the south area being without neighbourhood plans.”

The government is set to consult on a new method for calculating local housing need, which is a “critical” starting point for the plan’s preparation.

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Developing the local plan is expected to cost the council £750,000 every year, with a total of £3 million set aside for the next four years.

Councillors will discuss the first steps of the county’s local plan at a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday, July 28.