Havant Borough Council insists on keeping its local housebuilding plan - even though the government says it is unsound and illegal

A council is insisting on keeping its local plan – despite government planning inspectors recommending scrapping it and starting again.

By Toby Paine
Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 12:22 pm

Havant Borough Council’s local development plan was slated last month by inspectors after they found it unsound and not legally compliant.

Now, the council has written to Housing Secretary Michael Gove to complain about how planning inspectors should be proactive in helping local authorities secure their local plan.

The council have also complained about ‘the Dutch Case’ which requires all new developments to be nitrate neutral.

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Cllr Alex Rennie, leader of the council said: ‘As a local authority, we not only understand the obligation to meet housing targets, but also to do it in a meaningful and cohesive way which benefits businesses and residents alike.

‘However, as a local authority, we feel compromised by the unique constraints the Dutch Case has had on our housing delivery and have called on central government to recognise this.

‘We will explore all the options available to us, engage with the Planning Inspectorate further, but we remain firmly of the view that having a Local Plan is the best outcome for the borough and we remain determined that it is adopted.’

The planning inspectors believe that the council needs to undertake additional work concerning the issues that were brought up in their previous letter.

The work that needs to be done is substantial and if tackled in the current inspection, could create procedural difficulties that would lead to a lengthy and complex examination.

The inspectors said: ‘In our previous letter, we set out that we believed withdrawing the plan, undertaking the additional work, re-consulting and then re-submitting the plan for examination would prove a more expedient route to adopting a sound plan than continuing with this examination. We remain firmly of that view.

‘By withdrawing the plan, the council would be able to incorporate the current proposed changes into a revised Regulation 19 version of the plan.

‘This will inevitably lead to a much more efficient and straight forward examination for all involved.

‘We firmly believe that this would be the most efficient, cost effective and likely quickest route to the adoption of a sound and legally compliant plan for the borough, in accordance with the council’s clear objectives.’