Saturday, 29 April 2017

Council forced to withdraw local plan

A midlands council has been forced to withdraw its local plan after an inspector found it had not ‘engaged constructively’ with neighbouring local authorities on housing numbers and had breached legal requirements.

On Friday Coventry Council published a letter it had received from the government’s Planning Inspectorate which stated that its plan ‘does not meet the legal requirements of the 2004 Act in that council has not engaged constructively with neighbouring local planning authorities on the strategic matter of the number of houses proposed in the plan’.

As a result, Coventry Council must go back to the drawing board and look again at evidence for how many homes it thinks it will need before 2028, alongside its neighbouring councils such as Birmingham Council.

The Planning Inspectorate must approve all plans before they are officially adopted.

A statement from Coventry Council said: ‘The inspector, assigned to Coventry, has carefully considered all representations, and has concluded that the council’s plan is not legally compliant at this time. In his opinion the council needs to do more work with neighbouring authorities to ensure that housing need for the area is identified and planned for.

‘Once this work is done, Coventry’s core strategy along with the results of the new study will go back before the inspector for further examination.’

Today the Home Builders Federation announced it had ‘beefed up’ its planning team to have a representative at all local plan examinations. One of its concerns is that the duty to cooperate is failing.

Stewart Baseley, chair of the HBF, said: ‘This new capacity will enable the industry to be represented at all future local plan inquiries, and ensure we are challenging local authorities that are not making adequate provision for their housing need.’

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