A date has been set for an independent inspector to run the rule over a planning blueprint designed to shape the future of South Ribble.
South Ribble Council has been working on a new local plan for the borough and submitted the document to the Government in October 2012.
A planning inspector will examine the Local Development Framework (LDF) at a public hearing in March, when people who have submitted formal representations will have a chance to put their case forward.
The planning inspectorate has appointed Susan Heywood to conduct the examination and decide if the document is ‘sound’ and complies with legal requirements.
If necessary, final amendments will then be made and the council will be in a position to formally adopt the new local plan, which means it will have more power to approve or turn down plans for housing and employment, based on what has been earmarked for certain sites.
The council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, Coun Cliff Hughes, said: “To stimulate the growth of the economy, South Ribble Council has to find land to provide homes, jobs and infrastructure.
“The LDF will set out how the area will grow, how services will be provided and how the environment and character of the area will be enhanced and protected.
“I’m pleased we now have a date for the public examination hearings.
“Producing the LDF has been a lengthy process, lots of people have put in a lot of hard work and I’d like to thank them for their efforts.
“We are now approaching the final stages and once our site allocations document has been adopted it will give us much greater control over our own destiny.”
A preliminary meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 23, starting at 10am in the Civic Centre, Leyland, to explain how the public examination will be run and establish when people can attend to make representations.
Planning issues will not be discussed at this pre-meeting.
The full public examination hearings will start on Tuesday, March 5, at 10am at the Civic Centre, and are expected to last for about eight days, over a three-week period.
The exact dates will be confirmed shortly.
The LDF identifies around 100 potential sites for future housing, employment, infrastructure and green spaces in South Ribble, which were considered during previous consultations.
Once adopted, the LDF will give the council the power to manage the economic growth of the borough, protect and maintain open spaces and tackle existing planning issues in a co-ordinated manner.