MORE than £150,000 from council reserves have been approved to fund the final stages of the St Helens Local Plan.

The ‘submission draft’ version of the plan, which covers development in the borough from 2020 to 2035, was approved by St Helens Council back in December, although it was rejected by opposition councillors.

Following this, an eight-week publication consultation began in January to allow the public to view the plan and submit representations to the council.

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The council was forced to extend publication period by a further eight weeks, after it failed to notify residents in Bold and Clock Face of proposed changes to the green belt.

Green belt currently accounts for 65 per cent of the local authority’s land, which will be cut to 59 per cent under the current plan.

St Helens Star:

Before it can be adopted, the Local Plan must be examined by an independent planning inspector to ensure that it is legally sound.

To fund this, a delegated decision has been taken to approve additional funding for the Local Plan of £156,000, over a two-year period.

The money will be taken from the council’s growth reserve.

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A council spokesman said: “The Local Plan is due to be submitted to the planning inspectorate in the autumn and there will be further updates on the progress of the Local Plan in the coming months.

“This funding will cover the costs of the final stages of the Local Plan includes inspector fees for the public examination along with the appointment of a programme officer to support the inspector and other associated costs, which is a compulsory requirement of the Local Plan process.”

St Helens Council is aiming to adopt the Local Plan in 2020.