Local Plan criticised by planning expert for being 'flawed'

Local Plan criticised by planning expert for being 'flawed'
Local Plan criticised by planning expert for being 'flawed'

A planning expert has raised concerns that Calderdale Council’s Local Plan is “fundamentally flawed” because it does not include enough homes to help ease the housing shortage in the area.

Mark Johnson, of planning and development consultancy Johnson Mowat, is promoting a site in Brighouse, on behalf of Yorkshire Housing, which has not been included in the draft Local Plan.

The 18-acre site, on Stoney Lane in Brighouse, can provide around 150 homes, of which around half would be much needed affordable homes to local people, which is more than policy requirements or other sites in the Local Plan are suggesting.

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The council has recently been out to consultation on the draft Local Plan that has suggested an annual housing target of 840 new homes per annum.

The council has an increasing backlog of 3,500 households in need of an affordable home and this site could deliver more than 50 per cent of the homes on the site as affordable housing, including a wide range of house types.

Mr Johnson said: “The council is seeking to get away with doing the bare minimum. Many experts consider the only way to overcome these shortcomings is to aim for a target to build well above 1,000 new homes each year.

“The council has opted for a strategy of selecting two large sites in this area that won’t deliver in full over the life of the new plan and a collection of hard to develop back land and disused quarry sites that are less likely to be developed.

“To make matters worse, the new development sites selected by the council are not widely supported by the development industry and in many cases represent a series of hard to deliver sites in less sustainable locations that are unlikely to be delivered without reducing the wider package of social benefits often required as part of new housing.

"This site we have put forward lies as a natural extension of Brighouse and whilst it is in the Green Belt it does not serve a Green Belt purpose.

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“We would implore the council and the Government appointed inspector to relook at both the inclusion of our site and the overall housing numbers and strategy the council has persisted with.”

In response to the comments, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Coun Daniel Sutherland, said: “Preserving as much of our treasured green space as possible whilst still aiming for an aspirational housing target has been an important part of our draft Local Plan development.

“We believe that our plan strikes the right balance between development and preservation and protects important green belt land in Calderdale.”

Calderdale Council’s Corporate Lead – Planning, Richard Seaman, said: “The Council is following a timetable which was agreed with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which will see the draft Local Plan, including the representations from the public, submitted in December 2018.

“Sites included in the draft Local Plan have been carefully considered, taking into account what our communities will need in the future and ensuring that we have enough homes, schools and local infrastructure in the right places.

“At the same time we need to protect our environment so that we can support our wildlife, enjoy our leisure time and provide space to breathe now and in the future.

“Once submitted, Calderdale’s Local Plan will be examined in detail by an independent Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. The examination could last around nine months.

“Adoption of the plan by Calderdale Council, following receipt of the Inspector’s Report, is expected to be confirmed by the end of 2019.”

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