ST HELENS Council has revealed the next steps in preparation of the controversial Local Plan, setting out future housing and development plans.

The Local Plan will set out how much new development for housing and employment there should be in the borough up to 2033 and beyond, where this development should take place, and the policies for protecting the environment.

Council approval for the next version of the Local Plan – known as the proposed submission version – is now expected in early summer 2018.

This will be the version of the plan that the council wants to see adopted, subject to inspection by the independent Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.

Depending on the outcome of the inspection, the council hopes to adopt the Local Plan in 2019 and take the borough through to 2049.

Public consultation on the Local Plan Preferred Options was held over an

eight-week period between December 5, 2016 and January 30, 2017 which received a total of 5,695 responses from local residents, businesses and land-owners.

The initial draft of the Local Plan document had sparked strong opposition from residents, with campaign groups set across the borough with proposals including reducing green belt from 65 per cent of the borough to 56 per cent.

Cllr John Fulham, St Helens cabinet member for growth, said: “I would like to thank all of those who submitted their views and evidence to the council earlier in the year, which planning officers have been examining.

"Following government’s announcement of a review of technical planning methodologies we will need to consider the implications for St Helens.

"Government has asked local authorities to adopt new Local Plans as soon as possible, and then has increased the workload, slowing us down.”

Local Plans submitted to the government for examination after March 31, 2018 will be expected to use the new approach to calculating objectively assessed needs, meaning the St Helens Local Plan must take this into account.

Cllr Fulham added: “Looking at the government’s review we are confident that our planning for growth will meet the government’s proposed new standardised method for calculating housing need, and we’re confident that St Helens will achieve growth.”

Government has requested that all councils publish a register of brownfield land suitable for housing before the end of the year.

"Assuming central Government doesn’t make more changes that further slow us down then we hope to progress to the next stage by summer 2018, giving us plenty of time to consider all of the considerable

evidence that has been submitted, and to prepare a transport and infrastructure plan, and allow feedback on the second draft," added Cllr Fulham.

“In particular, we are undertaking further work with Highways England on any impact of traffic on the highway network as although we want to see growth we do not want to see an increase in congestion as that will simply work to strangle growth.”

“Although the Local Plan sets the framework of what we want for our communities, any actual planning applications must always be considered on their own individual merits and if they do not live up to the standards and requirements of the Local Plan then the council will find it easier to reject sub-standard applications.

The Plan's Preferred Options consultation showed plans which included releasing 1,187 hectares of land from the green belt and the proposed submission version of the Local Plan will confirm the council's approach to this.

For more information see

Residents can also request to be notified of progress on the Local Plan via email at, or call 01744 676190 or write to: Planning Policy Team, Town Hall Annex, Victoria Square St Helens, WA10 1HP.