by billhoult on 1 May, 2014
“Withdrawal would seem to be the best option available” says Council
Extraordinary Council Meeting Planned
Only one week into the hearing of the Harrogate District 20 year forward plan for the development of Housing jobs and leisure provision the Government Inspector (Mr Ware) has called a halt to the hearing claiming that his reservations “would require a fundamental review of your strategic approach”
The reservations fall into two main categories:-
The housing needs identified in the core strategy (2009) of 390 houses a year is now hopelessly out of date and should have been revised to between 850 and 1000 a year.
Similar concerns were raised regarding the evidence base for employment land allocations which have been based on a review as far back as 2006 which in itself was based on background data from 2002. This evidence is now considered hopelessly out of date!.
Mr Ware also raises concerns in his second paragraph about the “overall spatial pattern of development in the District and with the need for infrastructure.” He develops these concerns later with the comment: – “There is no analysis of the overall magnitude of these constraints”
The Council’s officers have accepted that the Inspectors comments go to the heart of the problem and that “withdrawal would seem to be the best option available.”
The whole process of the local development has been flawed and fragmented since the rejection two years ago by the previous Inspector of the first attempt by the Conservative led administration to produce a plan based on the 2009 approved Core Strategy. The main thrust of that rejection was an inadequate analysis of the options and opportunities for development (mainly housing). The current plan is if anything a less comprehensive plan and clearly based on out of date information. The Liberal Democrat Group voted against the proposal on concerns that insufficient consideration had been given to Infrastructure constraints in the plan (congestion, local green space and services)
What we are now faced with is the prospect of developers having a “free for all” on housing development sites across the District using the lack of a five year +5% land supply which is required by the National Planning Policy Framework.
A level of incompetence has been shown that is alarming.
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