The Chair had accepted an urgent item of business in respect of an update regarding the SG1 planning application, upon which the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government had placed a holding direction following a representation from the Stevenage MP.
The Strategic Director (TP) advised that the application had been granted permission by the Planning & Development Committee at its meeting held on 20 October 2020. That decision had been made following a recommendation from Planning Officers and with the benefit of the opinions of a considerable number of expert advisors. In terms of the policy context, the Stevenage Local Plan had a strong focus on Town Centre regeneration, which had been recognised at the Examination in Public, when the Planning Inspector stated “the policies and visions for the Town Centre were well thought out and had the potential to improve the town significantly in a number of ways”.
The Strategic Director (TP) informed Members that, since the imposition of the holding direction, SBC Planning Officers and Mace (the applicant) had responded to the MHCLG addressing the points made in the holding direction. He understood that holding directions on specific planning applications were, on average, concluded within 3 to 6 weeks. Planning Officers would continue to maintain the pressure on the MHCLG for a prompt decision.