Kikleess this week wrote back to the inspector withdrawing plan- here is the original inspectors’s letter. The long and the short, Kirklees didnt even try to meet the duty.
Even though it has recently been revoked, the Regional Strategy (RS) encapsulated the outcome of [a] strategic process. I agree that the YHRA did provide, if not co-operation, then a foundation of co-ordination which could be built upon. Appendix C of CD12 indicates that, so far as housing is concerned, other adjacent Councils are bringing forward proposals which are broadly in-line with the co-ordinated approach set out in the RS. The exception
appears to be Kirklees Council…. so far as housing is concerned, the Council appears to be abandoning the foundation of co-ordination which could be provided by the RS. This impression is reinforced by the fact that submission of the Core Strategy for Examination appears to have been delayed until the RS has been revoked. The object of the Council’s timing appears to be to ensure that the Core Strategy cannot now fail the test which required that the document should be generally in conformity with the RS. I find it difficult to reconcile the Council’s position that, as a participant in the YHRA, its Core Strategy was prepared against a background of strategic co-operation with its position where, in contrast to other participating Councils, it is proposing to adopt an approach to housing which is significantly different to the strategic approach set out in the RS. In my view this significantly weakens the Council’s case that participation in the YHRA indicates a degree of strategic cooperation during the preparation of the Core Strategy and that the ‘duty to co-operate’ has been fulfilled.
On housing need
The Council makes clear that the Core Strategy does not pretend to meet the whole of the identified need for housing in the local authority area. My understanding is that it seeks to provide only enough land to build sufficient market housing to accommodate those who can afford to buy them together with the number of affordable homes which could be reasonably provided alongside the market houses – the total being termed ‘the effective demand’. The Council’s approach takes no account of the requirements of paragraph 47 of the NPPF.
I can see no endorsement of the Council’s approach in national guidance. The Council may consider that it is a pragmatic approach given the current availability of private finance. However, I would question whether this is a proper approach for Councils to take. In my view the government is expecting that Councils should be seeking to put in place the conditions which will enable developers to build the houses which are required to meet the full need. It is for the developer to decide whether the houses will be capable of being sold. If he concludes that the houses will not sell, he will not build.
This is interesting as it implies a permanent lack of delivery and a permanent requirement for the plus 20%, so the 20% would add to the overall housing numbers, it wouldnt simply be a phasing issue.
And there is Forest Heath fail
…I draw the Council’s attention to some recent case law. In the case of Save Historic Newmarket Ltd v Forest Heath DC the judgement made clear that the background information supporting a Council’s plan needed to be of sufficient quality in terms of information, expertise and perceived effects to ensure that those members of the public affected by the plan are able to understand why the proposals are said to be environmentally sound and why alternative proposals have been discounted. In the case of Heard v Broadland District Council and others – which drew heavily on the Save Historic 5ewmarket decision – the judgement indicated that all alternative strategies should have
been considered in the same depth as those sites chosen for development. I have seen no clear evidence to demonstrate that a detailed comparison of alternative strategies has been carried out which would be in-line with these judgements.