Havant Borough Council local plan: Authority wants to suspend examination after government said plan was not legal

Havant Borough Council wants to suspend its local plan examination after government inspectors suggested withdrawing it and starting again.

By Toby Paine
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 1:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 1:30 pm
Cllr Alex Rennie
Cllr Alex Rennie

At that point, some of the proposed housing sites were ruled not viable and inspectors said the council did not comply with the law when carrying out a public consultation.

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In their most recent letter, the inspectors said that withdrawing and resubmitting the plan would be more efficient and straightforward than continuing with the current examination.

However, the council denied this with its most recent letter suggesting a suspension of the examination process until October 2022.

Councillor Alex Rennie, leader of the council, said: ‘If our Local Plan is withdrawn as the inspectors have suggested, we will be in a policy vacuum which will exacerbate unwanted, ad-hoc development in the borough – which is absolutely not what we want.

‘We want to work closely with the inspectors to address their concerns and requirements, therefore we have suggested a suspension in the process to allow for further work to take place.

‘Our Local Plan is a shield against speculative development and therefore we want to get it right.’

The planning inspectors believe that more work is needed concerning issues brought up in their interim findings report.

One of the issues most notably is the allocation of 900 homes on Hayling Island which was labelled unsound due to congested traffic on the weekends and at peak tourist and day visits.

The council commissioned Campbell Reith, engineering consultants, to set out a proposed methodology to address the impact developments would have during peak tourist traffic.

The council said it wanted to receive a response from the inspectors by January 14.