I have every sympathy with LPAs who prepare good plans and then are cuagfht out by situations out of their control. What I have no sympathy with is whining silly and inaccurate press releases by sore Councillors that truly weak local plans that are evidenced short term stitch ups of politically favored sites irrespective of the evidence.
Take today at Ashfield – Where the inspector found a plan
1) with only a 9 year lifespan
2) Did not make it clear why some sites had been chosen over others (always a sign of a smoke filled room non transparent process)
3) Had not demonstrated the whether those sites proposed for deletion from the Green Belt met the exceptional circumstances test
4) Was unable to demonstrate that the chosen Green Belt boundaries could endure beyond the plan period
Fundamental issues – plans need to be transparent, and on the Green Belt meet the clear tests.
Instead the moaning in a silly press release.
The Inspector suggests that if land does not meet all the Green Belt purposes the Council should either safeguard it or
take the land out of the Green Belt.
No that is a wilful misreading of the inspectors findings, and indeed a reading that does not comply with national policy.
The Council will be writing to both the Inspector and Nick Boles MP to express concerns and the view that the process has become a barrier to achieving a truly local approach. In particular, the Council will set out the importance of leaving room for a local approach as Neighbourhood Plans develop and concern with the strict application of both Sustainability Appraisal and Green Belt policy in the way set out by the Inspector as it appears to prevent the local approach the Authority was intending.
The Council is also seeking clarity from the MP as to the future role of Neighbourhood Plans if the Council is to be required to identify all sites in the Local
It is not ‘the strict application of Sustainability Apprasial and Green Belt policy’ but its basic application, and a legal requirement for both, have they not heard of Forest Hill or Pehrsonn, didums. Boles should toss this letter into his rather large waste paper basket. As for ‘leaving room for neighbourhood plans’ what they really mean is having a plan with a period so short they dont have to look seriously atlarger Green Belt review, and ‘leaving room’ would not help as neighbourhood plans could not look at large scale Green Belt releases without failing the conformity test.