Saturday, 29 April 2017

Planning inspectors found council did not do enough for Gypsies

Hull may lose planning control after review

Inspectors have ruled Hull Council’s development strategy to be unsound, paving the way for its future planning decisions to be overturned on appeal.

In the first case of its kind, the planning inspectorate found the council failed to adhere to new National Planning Policy Framework planning requirements to provide an up-to-date evidence base and identify a five-year rolling land supply for Gypsy and Traveller sites for its core strategy. Inspectors also flagged up problems with the timing and delivery of future housing and discrepancies in its house building target figures.

Local authorities need to have core strategies in place by March 2013. The planning inspectorate has given Hull six months to re-write its strategy. If the strategy is not then deemed satisfactory by the inspectorate it could mean the council is powerless to prevent planning decisions being overturned on appeal.

Under the NPPF, introduced in March, councils could lose planning decisions if their core strategy is unsound.

Ric Pallister, leader of South Somerset Council, who is running awareness building workshops for the Local Government Association, warned the new planning requirements were being routinely missed by councils.

He said: ‘Before we had this new NPPF, there wasn’t a big stick and many authorities did not bother about Gypsies and Travellers.

‘But now all eyes are on Hull; they’re the first ones with their heads on the chopping block; it’s really a test case. They played with their figures and failed to provide a robust evidence base, so inspectors found their strategy to be unsound. They now face losing control of future planning.’

Michael Hargreaves, planning advisor for the Irish Traveller Movement Britain, brushed off concerns councils could lose planning control, stating it was unlikely to happen in practice due to the inability to fund appeals.

A spokesperson for Hull Council said: ‘The core strategy examination has been suspended for six months. The council is using this time to carry out work on the evidence base, including that relating to Gypsy and Traveller needs. The council is confident that this will allow the core strategy to be found sound in due course.’

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