§ The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill)
My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister is today publishing the alterations to chapter 12 of the regional planning guidance for the south-east: the Ashford growth area. This follows the public examination into the draft alterations in December 2003, the panel report in February 2004 and the consultation on the Secretary of State's proposed changes that closed on 17th June 2004.
The alterations represent a revision to the regional planning guidance for the south-east (RPG9), as published in March 2001. On commencement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act the alterations will be part of a statutory regional special strategy (RSS).
The alterations aim to achieve sustainable growth in Ashford, which was identified as a growth area in RPG9. They set out the scale and form of development at Ashford to 2016, and form a special framework for the preparation of local planning documents and other relevant policy documents.
The consultation period for the proposed changes to the draft alterations ended on the 17 June with 40 responses from individuals or organisations. These mainly related to issues which had already been raised at the public examination and therefore only minor changes to the proposed alterations have been made.