Policy Based Evidence Creation – Making the Evidence fit the Policy

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14 Jan 2011
Rather than adopting the traditional approach of relying on evidence to support and formulate planning policy it would appear as though Swale Borough Council are adopting policy based on evidence creation in its forthcoming Core Strategy Consultation.

It is clear that some fundamental aspects of the Core Strategy are to be consulted upon without any evidence base what-so-ever in support of the respective concepts presented. Only if a particular option is favoured by the public will the Council undertake the necessary work to evaluate its feasibility.

Whilst it is understandable that the Council wouldn’t wish to commit to considerable expenditure on feasibility studies for every option presented to them, it does have the recourse to request that the developers behind major schemes provide the necessary evidence to support them. Whilst this wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the need for the Council to undertake independent work in the longer term, it would assist in ruling out some schemes before they were ever progressed to this stage.

One obvious question that needs to be addressed is “what happens if the publically selected option isn’t feasible?” Will the Council then presumably start the whole process from scratch and how much is all this going to cost the tax payers of Swale?