WHBC’s full council met on 27 January to sign-off on the Local Plan. There was one motion on the table: to submit the 2020 plan, with a few natural tweaks, for 13,279 homes.
Most of the speakers were from the two opposition parties. No-one liked the underlying plan, everyone argued against it, but no alternative motions were proposed.
The Conservative group voted in favour of the proposal and won the vote as they had a majority. Both Labour and Lib Dems voted against it; Labour thus reversing its vote from the CPPP meeting on 13 January.
WHBC officer (Sue Tiley) laid out all the risks of going down this route; it being almost 100% certain that the Inspector will reject the plan. The Conservatives talked about these risks in their discussion, though without proposals or suggestions on how to handle them if and when they arise.
If the submission is rejected by the Inspector and, if another Inspector fails to be appointed to oversee a new plan, planning applications across the borough are likely to appear from any developer. These may be not just the ones whose sites were in the plan, but also those whose submitted sites were rejected, and even some who have not yet proposed any sites.
Green Belt applications would almost certainly be refused at WHBC’s DMC meetings; after which developers would doubtless appeal. The lack of a local plan, and particularly the lack of an adequate five-year housing supply, will mean that some of these applications will succeed. The Singlers Marsh Village Green application Public Inquiry may well happen before any new plan is developed.
We await to hear the Inspector’s response.
More background to the Local Plan