Dear Mr Evans and Ms Mason,
SOMERFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN EXAMINATION: FURTHER CONSULTATION EXTENSION
Further to my letter of 10 October, a query has been raised as to whether the 3 weeks additional consultation I have requested is compliant with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
I have previously suggested that those who did not receive the timely electronic notification of the consultation exercise on the draft Plan should be afforded 3 weeks to submit their representations. However, this was subject to a caveat that should a representor be unable to meet this timeframe, I would provide an extension to the 3 week period.
In taking this approach, I sought to balance the need to ensure that any prejudice to a potential representor is remedied, whilst seeking not to incur any undue delay in the progression of the draft Plan.
Regrettably, given a query has already been raised about my preferred, pragmatic approach, I now consider it is necessary to mitigate further against the possibility of a legal challenge to this element of the Plan’s consultation process, should a representor be so minded. As such, I have now resolved to extend that initial 3 weeks consultation period by an additional 3 weeks (i.e. 6 weeks in total) and would be grateful if Cheshire East Council can communicate this to the relevant parties that rely on the authority’s electronic notifications.
In the interests of transparency, may I prevail upon you to ensure a copy of this is placed on the local authority’s and Parish Council’s websites.
Your sincerely, Mary O’Rourke BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI, Examiner