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North-West Regional Authority: online consultation around the Regional Spatial Strategy

In Summer 2004 the North West Assembly were asked to prepare a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the North West. This spatial strategy is due to be submitted to Government in September 2005 and its development is guided by Planning Policy Statement 11 (PPS 11) produced by the Government in Autumn 2004.

The Assembly is committed to making the preparation of the RSS as open a process as possible. The draft RSS Project Plan emphasises the need for the continual involvement of key partners (local authorities and others) throughout the process.

To run online consultation at every stage of the RSS process.

The first consultation document was the issues scoping paper which identified for comment the key issues the RSS should address. This took place in October 2004 and the results were disseminated online between November 2004 and March 2005.

Some of the gaps identified in the issues paper consultation were developed in more detail in a conference on 17th November 2004. This included areas such as: reducing demand for transport; providing homes; cross-border issues; health; education; sub-regional issues; links between transport and housing; and managing demand for natural resources. The conference also explored future drivers of change likely to impact on the spatial plan.

Following the issues paper and conference, themes for options papers were selected according to the following criteria: a core theme of the spatial plan i.e. housing, transport, environment; a new theme for the spatial plan i.e. health, education and skills; or areas where key questions needed to be posed i.e. presentation. The options paper is a key stage in the development of the RSS and is a requirement of PPS 11.

The second consultation document was around these options papers and ran from March 7th to April 8th 2005.

The current session presents the results of the options paper consultation and will run until August 1st. The results will then be developed to form a draft of the RSS, which will be ready in September 2005. This draft will be subject to a formal consultation in Autumn 2005. This will be followed by an Examination in Public (EiP) in June 2006, with the final version of the RSS expected to be issued by the Government in May 2007.

In the first consultation stage invitations were sent to over 3,500 organisations and individuals. Over 1,000 individual comments were received.

The results of the first stage of the consultation highlighted the areas that the spatial plan needed to address. A summary report of the results is available here. For continuous up to date information on the development of the Regional Spatial Strategy, including further consultations, please visit http://nwra.gov.uk/rpg


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