THE draft local plan might not be published until winter – but officers are ‘working hard’ to get through every response submitted during the public consultation.

It was initially due to be published in January to allow for a draft plan consultation to begin, with an independent examination planned for summer.

But it has been pushed back significantly as staff continue to work through the estimated 4,000 responses.

The draft is now programmed to be published in autumn at the earliest, or winter at the latest, before a further public consultation.

The authority said it needs to take into account all of the representations as it prepares the formal draft version.

A detailed programme for the preparation of the document will be confirmed ‘in due course’.

Council leader Cllr Terry O’Neill said: “Our local plan will play a central role in our growth and development over the next two decades and, as such, will affect everyone who lives and works here.

“That’s why it’s great news that so many people engaged in the consultation and that their views can help shape the plan.

"We are committed to fully taking on board every single response, but the many thousands we have received means that it is taking some time.

"Our officers are working hard to complete this and we will be updating people on the next stages, and timescales, in the near future."