I do have serious concerns about some aspects of the Plan and its supporting documentation and I realise that some, possibly many, of the conclusions that I have reached will be disappointing for the Forum.
I have also had significant concerns in relation to the consultation process. While the minimum requirements of the regulations have been met, it is apparent to me that the development of the Plan did not fully engage the community in the way envisaged in the PPG. There is no doubt in my mind that the process could have been more thorough and inclusive, particularly in the Plan formulation stage and that the Plan would have benefitted substantially from this. It would have had wider ownership and the policies would have been more effectively evaluated and refined with the input of a wider cross section of the community
It is my view that the Forum should seriously consider whether to withdraw the Plan at this stage because of the way that these shortcomings have diminished the effectiveness of the Plan. It may well be possible to rectify this by going back to the pre-regulation 14 stage and going through the process of developing the Plan in a way that addresses all of these issues. There is little doubt in my mind that in this way the Plan could secure a greater buy in from the community and relate more effectively to the emerging Local Plan.