COUNCILLORS have voted to suspend work on the district’s Local Plan rather than go back to the drawing board.
Warwick District Council’s draft Local Plan – the key planning document which will shape future development in the district over the next 15 years – was rejected earlier this year by planning inspector Kevin Ward who said it needed a significant review – which included suggestions for more than the planned 12,900 new homes.
Concerns were then raised by council leader Andrew Mobbs in a letter to the Secretary of State Greg Clark detailing how the rejection could have serious consequences for the development of the district.
The Secretary of State has responded saying he did not intend to intervene at this stage but suggested the council respond directly to the inspector.
A new report to councillors suggests a way forward to address the inspector’s concerns without the plan being withdrawn entirely.
If the inspector agrees with the council’s revised way forward, it would mean the examination of the Local Plan could start again next year.
Coun Mobbs said: “I am pleased that we have taken this positive step forward, which, if successful, will enable us to resume the inspection around September 2016.
“We are keen to work with the Planning Inspectorate in achieving a sound plan-based development of the district, thus protecting our communities from any unwanted developments.”
District development spokesman Coun Stephen Cross said it was the right way forward.
He added: “The thought, expertise and sound approach from all involved certainly offers an opportunity for us to proceed with our plan. I am delighted with the decision the Council has made.”
The Inspector’s concerns focused on two areas:
* The approach to addressing Coventry’s unmet housing need.
The Inspector found Coventry City Council would not be able to provide for all of its housing need within the city boundary due to a lack of land. He asked the councils in Warwickshire to work with the city to address the issue now in advance of Warwick’s Local Plan progressing. The report agreed by council sets out the programme of work agreed by the all the councils to do this.
* Concerns about aspects of the housing land supply and about the capability of the plan to deliver a five year housing land supply on adoption.
The Inspector found the council’s approach to allowing for development that will come forward on windfall sites – unidentified sites which are likely to be developed – was over-optimistic and suggested additional land should be allocated. Work is underway to identify and assess potential sites to address this concern. The report also sets out the timetable for carrying out this work.