Following on from December’s examination of the draft Local Plan hearings, the Inspector has now produced her Post Hearing Advice Note for the Broxtowe Part 2 Local Plan. It can be found on the Examination website (www.broxtowe.gov.uk/part2localplan) in the Examination Library (Part 2) or by visiting the following link https://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/media/6281/broxtowe-post-hearing-advice-note.pdf
Her advice contains a number of “Main Modifications” that are still needed to make the Council’s plan “sound”.
As things stand, the Inspector concludes that the council is not meeting its 5 year housing land supply – this is dangerous as it weakens the ability of the council to turn down planning applications that would otherwise be inappropriate development. Bramcote has already suffered from this in the recent past with regard to the planning application for the former Golf Course. She suggests an increase in the number of windfall sites to rectify the shortfall – but makes no comment on the reasonableness of the overall housing target of 6150 over the whole plan period of 2014- 2028.
As a result of a Michael Gove’s decision to scrap the Schools of the Future policy back in 2010 (a decision he is on record as regretting) Bramcote is paying a heavy price in terms of losing green belt in order to generate funds for a replacement school building. The Inspector points out that the Council has misinterpreted national policy when it comes to the very special circumstances needed to allow change of land use in the green belt but welcomes the development of sport and recreation facilities, noting their undoubted health benefits.
One of the topics that was aired during the hearings was Broxtowe’s policy that 5% of plots on large developments should be left for self build. The Housebuilders Federation commented on the disadvantages of such a policy. The Forum felt that this was unnecessary and the Inspector has advised that this policy is removed.
Overall the Inspector has made a relatively small number of comments and there is every reason to think the Council’s planning officers will reply swiftly and effectively to her advice.
The Council now has until 5 May to respond to the Inspector’s advice. After this there will need to be a six week consultation on the main modifications to Part 2. Only after that can the Council vote to adopt Part 2. That will be down to the Councillors elected in May’s elections.
And then the whole cycle starts again with a review of the Aligned Core Strategy – and a chance to revisit that target of 6150 homes.
The Bramcote Neighbourhood Forum will continue to liaise with the Council as we move closer to submitting our Neighbourhood Plan to the Council. However, the long delay in finalising the Local Plan is most disappointing.
Chair, Bramcote Neighbourhood Forum