I must stress that this is not my idea, it was suggested to me as a potential solution (by someone who should know) in those cases where the inspector states that he or she is likely to find a plan unsound. I cannot find a flaw in the logic.
In these cases the LPA can require that an Inspector MUST make recommendations that would make a plan sound. The Act says that it is the responsibility of the “person appointed to carry out the examination” to recommend the main mods- section 112 of the Localism Act amends section 20(7) of the Act as follows
(7C)If asked to do so by the local planning authority, the person appointed to carry out the examination must recommend modifications of the document that would make it one that—
(a)satisfies the requirements mentioned in subsection (5)(a), ((legal requirements) and
So the LPA can simply say, no we wont withdraw, we are going to suggest modifications no matter how long it takes until you are satisfied. What if this is longer that the normal PINS six month break. Cannot in these cases the SoS direct the plan is withdrawn? No that power was abolished by 2011 c. 20 s. 112(4) Sch. 25 Pt. 17
So in a case like Medway, or the recent AAP in Plymouth – just keep on going, you have already suggested some alternative sites.
So zero risk of withdrawing a plan and then having the plan being found unsound at a re-submission PLI.
Also no policy vacume, as the revisions are more likely to be found sound they are a stronger material planning consideration than the policy vacume left by withdrawl.
Of course it is possible that the plan would necessarily be a complete rewrite to the one submitted, and that publishing a set of amendments rather than a full consolidated draft would be hard for third parties to follow, which shows how removal of the power to direct withdrawl in the localism act was a great mistake.
Of course an inspector might be caught in a stalemate, he or she might not have sufficient evidence to make recommendations, which shows the poor drafting of the new section 7C , it should add ‘as far as the evidence before them permits’.
So why should a plan ever be found unsound again?