Hearing sessions for Harrogate Borough Council’s Sites and Policies Development Plan Document (DPD) were postponed earlier this month after inspector Phillip Ware warned that the authority’s annual housing target of 390 homes was less than half of the minimum estimates published in a strategic housing market assessment last year.
In a statement issued ahead of a full council meeting last week, Harrogate Council’s head of planning and development Dave Allenby said Ware’s concerns went “to the heart of the document”, which includes the council’s development management policies and site allocations up to 2024.
Ware said the council “will now need to prepare a new plan that looks at the possibility of accommodating a significant increase in housing and employment growth”.
But at the meeting councillors instead voted to write to Ware seeking to suspend the plan’s examination, challenge the new homes target, and explore the potential for the document to be amended with additional employment land allocations.
A spokesman said that the alternative move against officers’ recommendations had been tabled by the authority’s cabinet.
“The full council decided that they were going to write to Phillip Ware and ask to suspend the DPD examination in order to give the council more time to find extra employment land and to query the housing numbers,” he said.
The spokesman added that councillors could look again at withdrawing the DPD in the coming weeks, depending on the response from Ware.
Surely they are mad? they will e found unsound and thrown to the wolves. Of course since the localism act there is nothing an inspector can do to force withdrawl. It is now a ,tter for the LPA alone. And the LPA can ask forever the inspector to make recommendations to amend the plan. There is no need to ever be found unsound – just keep amending the inquiry alive. Better a plan that triggers the prematurity criterion on some policies and sites at least than a fully withdrawn plan that leaves you compleltely defenseless.