THE LEADER of Warwick District Council has written to the Secretary of State calling for a rethink after the authority’s draft Local Plan was rejected.
The key planning document, which will help shape development in the district until 2031, was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate at the start of the year.
And at the beginning of May, a four-day examination hearing was undertaken during which issues such as the number of houses required in the district and potential delivery of housing land were considered by government planning inspector, Kevin Ward.
But on Thursday (June 4) Mr Ward released his report to the council – stating the plan was ‘unsound’ in its current form and would need ‘significant review’ before further progress could be made.
The inspector suggested plans to build 12,900 new homes across the district was insufficient and he also raised concerns about an ‘unmet housing need’ in Coventry and Warwickshire – saying there was a shortfall of at least 234 homes each year, which would need to be addressed jointly by Warwick and other neighbouring authorities.
Warwick District Council leader, Coun Andrew Mobbs, admitted he was disappointed by the inspector’s findings.
And following the release of the report, he has now penned a letter to the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, asking him to re-address the decision.
In the letter he maintains a hold-up in implementing the plan could have serious consequences for the development of the district.
Coun Mobbs argues such a delay could lead to problems getting funding for future infrastructure and would cause a set back to the delivery of housing sites within the green belt including in Kenilworth and Lillington.
He also raised concerns it would mean further applications for development on unwanted sites and the delay could possibly hinder the recovery of the local economy.
Speaking about the decision to write to Mr Clark, Coun Mobbs said: “We feel this is the most appropriate way forward and look forward to his response.
“I hope a review of the inspector’s recent decision will demonstrate the Government’s commitment to helping councils who take plan making seriously.
“This would enable us to bring forward developments that are badly needed and would support local choice.”
The examination hearing was expected to continue in September but it is likely the council will now need to wait for Mr Clark’s response before deciding whether or not to withdraw the plan.
If, however, Mr Clark overturns the original rejection, the authority could look to restart the examination and adopt the strategy.