COTSWOLD District Council has defended its handling of the district-wide Local Plan after criticism from its Audit and Scrutiny committee.

At its meeting on Thursday, February 13, members of the committee grilled Cllr Nick Parsons, cabinet member for forward planning, on the delays in producing a Local Plan.

Cllr Mark Wardle (Independent, Fairford) asked why the Cotswolds does not have an up to date local plan and whether an increased investment would speed the process up.

Responding, Cllr Parsons said: “I don’t think so. We are certain that we will have our Local Plan within six months.

“Progress is being made on the Local Plan. At the moment, we are no worse off than any other local authority,” he added.

It was also heard that more than 2,000 comments had been received on the proposed plan, which sets out development requirements in the district until 2031.

Many residents hit out at the prospect of building 2,500 homes in the Chesterton area of Cirencester and a further 4,400 across the rest of the Cotswolds.

At a cabinet meeting last September, it was said that the delays in delivering the Local Plan could result in more planning appeals while also having a detrimental impact on CDC’s reputation.

A draft Local Plan will be published later in the year with a finalised copy expected to surface in 2015.

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