Are Examinations in Public now a Waste of Time?

Maidstone Inspectors Letter

One of the key tests for the submitted spatial strategy is that it is an appropriate strategy for securing a sustainable pattern of development in the Borough. In contrast to previous tests of soundness, it does not need to be
demonstrably the most appropriate strategy. That said, in order to be an appropriate strategy, it needs to perform well against Sustainability Appraisal (SA) objectives when compared against other reasonable options and so result in ‘sustainable development’ in a Maidstone Borough context.

Hence the inspector didn’t at all cover the many days of hearings on alternative and rejected sites – so what was the point?

If the justified test goes the chosen sites dont even have to be evidenced. To be honest the deliverable test is not that important, if plans are not deliverable they will be quickly out of date. They will l be delivered in practice.

So the only real and necessary tests are effectively a nullity and the evidence of comparative environmental effects in teh SEA can be ignored.

The days of sitting in herings will just be pantomime nd the ability of inspectors to take robust views will be watered down. The purpose of a genuine consultative process with independent examination will be nullified as what the LPA says sticks and cant be challenged by other views. In this circumstance who could defend the need for examinations – they will become a waste of time and money.