MORE homes than originally planned will need to be built before Warwick District Council can adopt its Local Plan.
That was the advice from government Planning Inspector Kevin Ward in his report of the key planning document, which will help shape development in the district until 2029.
The report was released on Thursday (June 4) and suggested the authority’s plans to build 12,900 new homes across the district would be insufficient.
The inspector 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.
The Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in January 2015 before an initial four-day hearing session was undertaken at the beginning of last month where issues such as as duty to co-operate, the number of houses required in Warwick district and supply and delivery of housing land were considered.
But following the hearing, Inspectorate Kevin Ward has released a report in which he said the Local Plan was not positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy.
He added: “Solely on the basis of the council’s own estimates there would be a shortfall in provision of some 249 dwellings over the plan period compared to the requirement.
“Even this relies on a windfall allowance, which I consider to be unjustified. There is still significant work to be undertaken. It may result in a significantly different approach to housing development in Warwick district.”
Andrew Mobbs, leader of Warwick District Council, said: “I am extremely disappointed with the direction the inspector has given the council. We are committed to growing the economy and in turn providing housing to all existing and prospective residents.
“We wish to keep everyone informed of the way forward with the Local Plan and will issue further statements in due course.”
And a district council spokeswoman added: “The Inspector’s findings are likely to have far reaching implications for the progression of Warwick district’s Local Plan and for the work that needs to be carried out in the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire.
“The extent to which additional sites may need to be allocated in the district and the location of any sites is not known and will require further work and consultation in the coming months.
“The council is currently giving further consideration to the Inspector’s report and the significant implications it will have with regard to the progression of the Local Plan and the delivery of the funding, infrastructure and policy to support it.”
The hearing was expected to continue in September but it is likely the council will now need to take on board Mr Ward’s suggestions before they can look to restart the examination and adopt the strategy.