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Statement in response to the Secretary of State

In a joint statement Cllr David Blackwell, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Warren Gibson, Deputy Leader, said:

"As we have outlined in our response to the Secretary of State, the circumstances surrounding the development of the Council’s Local Plan are exceptional.

Having, as a Council, taken the decision not to adopt the previous iteration of our Local Plan, which was not the right plan for the Borough, we are now on track to deliver our new Local Plan within the timescales set.

From the outset we made a commitment to fully engage and consult the residents of Castle Point at every stage of the development process. We have been true to this, and the insight gained from the first stage of this engagement has been invaluable.

We do not believe that intervention by the Secretary of State would speed up the necessary process and fear it may have an unintended negative impact on the positive levels of public engagement we have seen to date. In turn, this could result in the finished plan not being as true a reflection of the needs or wishes of the Borough.

We implore the Secretary of State not to intervene and allow us to continue with the successful development of our Local Plan."