Hengrove Park Fiasco Shows How Flaws in Neighbourhood Plan System means they are poor at Allocating Strategic Sites

Hengrove Park is not a good advertisement for teh British development plans system.

The largest startegic site in Bristol, the former airport.  1,500 homes plus a park etc.  included in made neighbourhood plan.  Site council owned, councils own application and masterplan.  Refused for not having a high enough density or large enough park.

The problem:

Four potential options for the development of the site were put forward for consideration- set out in full in the Design and Access Statement.
These included a range of layouts for, and amounts of, the proposed housing and siting of the new north/south road link. One showed the housing adjacent to St Giles Estate with the main park in the centre of the site while the others kept this area undeveloped with differing layouts of housing particularly in the area to the north of the Bottleyard.
At this time, the Neighbourhood Planning Forum (NPF) for the Hengrove and Whitchurch Park area was actively promoting possible uses and ideas for Hengrove Park and were consequently invited to participate in the focus group. As an NPF they introduced their own master plan for the development
of the park for consideration – Option 5 though this was outside of the scope of the formal consultation.
It is this masterplan that is referred to in the adopted Neighbourhood Plan.

In other words multiple competing plans and the one in the neighbourhood plan not the one favoured by the lanowner – the council.

Clearly there needed to be one and only one masterplan.

Now you might ask why the council didnt object to the masterplan put to referendum as contrary to startegic policies.  Well it wasnt.  They could have objected as the allocation was not deliverable because it was contrary to national policy – as the site as not deliverable if not proposed as the landowner favoured.  They didnt.  Probably thinking that as the mastyerplan in the neighborhood plan was only ‘illustrative’ it had little weight.

Bristol only have themselves to blame.  They needed a one masterplan process with the extent of the development and the park inked into the policies map.

The problem is that nolt every element of national policy is relevant to the basic conditions.  The guidance hints that only para 29. is rel event i.e. scale, providing that is met the form and locations within the NP area doesnt matter.  But it does matter if landowners agreement isn’t met at the NPPF tests of viability, availability and devliverability are met.

If Neighbourhood plans are to play with the big boys and allocate major sites then the tests for inclusion of sites in national policy should be met,






How @KitMalthouse quoted withdrawn government policy, and why @MayofGM -called him ‘dishonest’ on Green Belt

In making any plan an LPA has two different numbers.  The first is the OAN, the target.  This with the revised NPPF as of last week can only be deviated from in exceptional circumstances.  However this does not necessarily mean loss of Green Belt.  Guidance always allowed  this to be considered a ‘constraint’ however this then creates an unmet need elsewhere.  This dated from an amendment to guidance issued 4th October 2014 headlined ‘Councils must protect our precious green belt land’ This inserted a new ‘section 5’ to the guidance stating that ‘constraints’ such as Green Belt didnt mean you had to meet needs in full’.

The Framework is clear that local planning authorities should, through their Local Plans, meet objectively assessed needs unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole, or specific policies in the Framework indicate development should be restricted. Such policies include those relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives, and/or designated as sites of special scientific interest; land designated as green belt, local green space, an area of outstanding natural beauty, heritage coast or within a national park or the Broads; designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.

However this section of the new guidance issued last week no longer exists, it exists in the diagram but no longer in the text.  The original statement is highligted as ‘coalition’ policy’ and so to be checked against current government policy.

Clearly Malthouse misled the house quoting old withdrawn guidance.

Even if it was withdrawn by mistake and was an editing error the strengthened ‘prepared positively’ tests meant that agreement would be needed through joint strategic policies to take any overspill need.  In either even the accusation of dishonesty is accurate.

Manchester Evening News

Andy Burnham has hit out at the government amid a fresh row over the region’s green belt – accusing ‘dishonest’ ministers of having ‘misled’ people over housing policy.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse had sparked fury in the mayor’s office last week by suggesting Mr Burnham is not being forced by Whitehall to earmark green belt for new housing, as he had previously claimed.

Mr Malthouse said the government housing targets blamed by the mayor were not in fact ‘mandatory’ or rigid, telling MPs that concerns over green belt loss may give local leaders some wriggle-room.

His comments could have significant implications for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, the latest draft of which still earmarks green belt for housing, despite a public backlash in many parts of the conurbation.

In January Mr Burnham admitted he would miss his manifesto goal of ‘no net green belt loss’ in the rewritten document, but blamed that on ministers, who he said had made the task ‘impossible’ by forcing him to use outdated population forecasts.

The minister contradicted that on Thursday, however, telling a specially-convened debate in Westminster that ‘any’ planning inspector would accept a ‘properly evidenced and assessed variation from that target’.

“If, for example, you have constraints like areas of outstanding natural beauty or green belt, or whatever it might be, and you can justify a lower number, then an inspector should accept that,” he said.

Mr Malthouse added: “I think there’s been a lot of misunderstanding about the notion that this is somehow a mandatory number that local authorities have to hit.

“We recognise that within the UK, there’s lots of variables to be taken into account.”

Those comments sparked anger from Mr Burnham’s office, which swiftly issued a strongly-worded response.

“The minister’s comments in the parliamentary debate on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework came as a surprise as they do not reflect current government policy,” said the mayor.

“They give a very different impression to the one offered in private by civil servants.

“Under pressure from Conservative backbenchers, it would appear that the government is trying to soften its line on housing numbers and greenbelt and deflect blame towards councils.

“We see this same tactic with council tax rises. It is unfair and dishonest.”

Mr Burnham said Greater Manchester ‘does not believe it has the discretion over housing numbers which was suggested by the minister’.

The government’s own planning guidance says local authorities are ‘expected’ to uses centrally-set methodology to work out many houses they will need in the coming years, he said – and only allows them to deviate from that ‘in exceptional circumstances’.

As a result, he said, Greater Manchester had come up with a housing number ‘close’ to the government’s own local target.

“When local authorities have sought guidance on this from civil servants, they have confirmed this as the right approach rather than the more flexible interpretation which appeared to be offered by the minister in the House,” he added.

At the same time, he said, government had told Greater Manchester to set even higher housing targets if it wants to access national funding to clean up former industrial land for development.

“So, for these reasons, Greater Manchester does not believe it has been offered the flexibility over housing numbers as claimed by the minister,” he said.

“His comments were at best partial and at worst misleading.

“Given that we are in the middle of a consultation, and endeavouring to give the public the most honest, up-to-date information we can, I will be asking the minister for an urgent meeting, together with the City Mayor of Salford, to clear these matters up.”

In January Mr Burnham admitted he would miss his manifesto goal of ‘no net green belt loss’ in the rewritten document, but blamed that on ministers, who he said had made the task ‘impossible’ by forcing him to use outdated population forecasts (Image: PA)

The spatial framework – which plans out Greater Manchester’s development over the next two decades – has already been rewritten once in the wake of Mr Burnham’s election, in which he promised to scrap the original contentious version.

Mr Burnham – who is up for re-election in just over a year – claimed he had no choice but to do so, however, because the government had forced him to use old population projections, thereby tying the region to targets that could not be met any other way.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been asked to comment.

East Cambs to become ‘Planning Klondyke’ if it Withdraws Local Plan

Ely Standard

Tory controlled East Cambridgeshire District Council will vote on Thursday to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water and remove its emerging local plan – and two years of scrutiny – from independent examination.

john elworthy@johnelworthy

Number 1 from @kennettaction

john elworthy@johnelworthy

At Kennett and with @kennettaction and future of the village. Here’s what one protester told me just now

Embedded video

See john elworthy’s other Tweets

If the vote is carried it could mean a temporary reprieve for residents of villages such as Kennett who are fighting proposals to stop the council’s scheme for 500 homes there.

But it could also mean East Cambridgeshire becomes a planning Klondike for speculators and developers as it will remain without a Government requirement of a five year supply of land for housing.

East Cambs Council says that if it had accepted the inspector’s latest recommendation green spaces in Witchford and Reach would be at risk and significant extra housing could be built at Soham, Littleport and Sutton

One such site is Kingfisher Drive in Soham which had been allocated for 100 homes but which the inspector believes could sustain 175 homes.

john elworthy@johnelworthy

No 2 voice from @kennettaction

john elworthy@johnelworthy

Second voice from today’s meeting with members of @kennettaction and continued displeasure with the ambition of @EastCambs to build 500 homes there

Embedded video

See john elworthy’s other Tweets

And the council claims that if they adopted the inspector’s proposals for a new local plan it would mean deleting the council’s flagship community land trust policies.

Withdrawing the plan, however, could be fraught with complications and is opposed by Lib Dem Cllr Lorna Dupre.

She said that questions to be answered about why the council thought fit to “conceal the inspector’s modifications to the plan for two months.

“The proposal to withdraw the draft plan without proper discussion is grossly disrespectful to participants – landowners, developers and objectors alike”.

And withdrawal of the plan is being questioned by the Kennett Action Group that gave evidence to the inquiry and accuses the council of “acting undemocratically” by moving so swiftly against it.

Barclay Dutton of the action group said the Kennett Community Land Trust “was not community led, and survey evidence was accepted by the council that the majority of Kennett did not want the 500 homes development”.

It is faint consolation to the group that reverting to the 2015 plan will see Kennett – theoretically -once more be designated a small village with only modest incremental growth.

His group fears 500 homes are still on the cards and that a massive weight of evidence compiled by the Kennett protestors could now be destroyed.

It is a view shared by action group colleague Fahmy Fayez Fahmy who says that reverting to the 2015 plan means the 500 homes proposal is unlawful but fears East Cambs Council “will press on regardless”.

East Cambs Council is not only the planning authority but owns Palace Green Homes that wants to carry out the development. And council budgets have been put together on the basis of millions of pounds of expected revenue from their flagship Community Land Trust (CLT) scheme.

Councillor Anna Bailey, the deputy leader of East Cambs Council, remains adamant CLT schemes – including the Kennett proposals – will not be lost.

“The inspector’s modifications include deleting the community led development policy (that is already found sound and in our current local plan, and is what delivers Community Land Trusts) and deleting Kennett as an allocated site,” she tweeted over the weekend.

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the emerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

But in response to whether it would mean an end to the 500 homes proposed for Kennett she replied: “No, it doesn’t”.

Last year Mayor James Palmer won agreement from the combined authority to loan East Cambs £6.5 million for CLT homes at Haddenham and an ‘in principle’ deal for a further £40 million for East Cambs Council’s commercial arm East Cambs Trading Company Ltd for an extended programme of CLT housing.

It will now be up to East Cambs to see where those proposals fit alongside the intervention of Government inspector Louise Nurser who warned in December that the local plan proposals were “unsound”.

Richard Kay, strategic planning manager at East Cambs, has penned a report to full council on February 21 which contains the recommendation to withdraw the submitted local plan from its independent examination.

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

The effect will be to reduce the status of that emerging plan “to zero for the purpose of making decision on planning matters”.

The council began work in 2016 on the new plan and Mr Kay says it was submitted a year ago for examination. Inspector Louise Nurser was appointed to determine if it was “sound and legally compliant”.

Mr Kay said: “Officers were frustrated by both the slow speed of the examination and the considerable uncertainty as to where matters were heading, and what modifications might be necessary”.

These changes he says go to the heart of “or rather take away the heart of the plan prepared by the council”.

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

When the council did finally get her findings, he says, they expressed concern over the “sheer scale” of modifications needed, lack of explanation or reasoning, and the consequences.

Mr Kay believes the inspector ought to have stuck to her brief of focussing entirely on soundness matters as opposed trying to “improve” the plan.

Should the council accept all her suggestions “it would be one which is perhaps better described as an inspector-led plan. In short, with the modifications, the plan would become largely unrecognisable from the plan submitted for examination”.

Mr Kay summarises many of the technical aspects of why the council rejects the inspector’s findings including the fear that standards of new housing would fall with implications and ignoring the needs of the elderly and disabled.

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

How a Twitter fire storm was evoked over the news that the ermerging local plan for East Cambridgeshire is about to be ditched by East Cambs Council after disagreement with the independent inspector. Picture; TWITTER

And he says he is mystified by a reference by the inspector to “provide for those of a nomadic lifestyle” since it was unclear what this meant and why it is needed.

Mr Kay argues removing policies about village growth was unreasonable since these policies had been prepared in conjunction with village

“It remains unclear why the policies are, in their entirety, ‘unsound’ and incapable of being made sound,” he says.

Of modifications suggested he says “officers believe the vast majority are so wholly unjustified as to not be defendable at a future five year land supply inquiry i.e. rather than making the plan ‘sound’.

“They would actually make the plan ‘unsound’ by having over ambitious dwelling targets for sites, impacting on our supply and deliver of units”.

He added: “Another effect of the increase in numbers of specific sites is to significantly increase total growth in Littleport, Soham and Sutton.

“The Kennett site of 500 community-led dwellings be deleted. No reasons given.

“Local Green Spaces as backed by the local community in Reach and Witchford be deleted, the latter (Horsefield) being the one most supported by the parish council – no reason for deletion given.”

Mr Kay added: “A plan can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason, by a council.”

Once the plan is withdrawn, East Cambs will rely on legislation as well as “the direction of travel the combined authority is taking” to guide growth.

#CAMKOX Garden Communities Submissions Exempt from FOI

Oxford Mail

NO INFORMATION can be given out about potential housing sites that might be used for hundreds of thousands of new homes, the Government has said.

It wants to build one million new homes between Oxford and Cambridge before 2050.

About 100,000 homes are currently included in Oxfordshire councils’ Local Plans until the mid-2030s – but many more housing sites would be needed in the county to meet the Government’s target.

The Ministry of Housing (MHCLG) said all information returned by councils about potential housing sites ‘relates to the formulation and development of policy’ and is currently secret.

It was replying to a freedom of information request that it returned two and a half months late.

Ministry ‘Too Busy with Brexit’ to Intervene on Castlepoint Local Plan


CANVEY residents are being “left in the dark” over future plans for homes across the island and Castle Point, it has been claimed.

Almost 5,000 homes are due to be built across the borough in the next 20 years, with Castle Point Council initially threatened with Government intervention in December 2017.

A draft proposal was completed but voted down by councillors in December, when it was stated Government intervention would take place “imminently”.

And Canvey residents feel they are now being kept in the dark with no news on what’s happening next, with a Canvey Independent Party councillor admitting the party has no information to feed back either.

While Norman Smith, leader of the council, insisted it is chasing the Government for answers.

Joan Thomas, 55, of Long Road, Canvey, said: “We are told all these homes will be built, we are told all the green belt is at risk, we are told the Government would intervene and we would have no say, then it just goes quiet. We have heard nothing since that December vote, what have the council been doing? Working to get a suitable plan? Or sitting on their hands waiting for central Government to take control? Nothing at all seems to be happening.”

Locations for all the proposed sites were released, with 1,399 set for Canvey on nine sites, and 2,823 for the rest of Castle Point on 20 sites – with room needing to be found for at least 600 more. At least 4,800 homes are needed, as well as 90 residential care beds.

A number of green belt sites have been released under the plan, but the council has insisted it is attempting to keep the number of homes on green belt to a “bare minimum”.

Barry Campagna, of the Canvey independent party, said: “When we were voting on these plans, we were told “if it is not approved, Government intervention will begin tomorrow”, but that has not happened. The threat was made to sound very serious, but we have heard very little since.

“As a Canvey councillor, we are not being told anything by Castle Point council, and we have not heard anything from Government, so we have nothing to feed back to our residents, the public are in the dark and that is when vicious rumours start.

Government ‘too busy with Brexit for Local Plan’

Castle Point council leader, Norman Smith, insisted the council feels just as ill-informed, insisting it is pressuring central Government for answers – and soon.

He has previously warned that Government intervention into the local plan would be imminent, following councillor’s rejection of a draft plan in December.

But weeks on, Mr Smith claims he is still to hear from central Government, adding that he does not expect an answer until Brexit negotiations are completed.

He said: “There is no update on the local plan and we feel equally left in the dark by the Government who are busy with Brexit.

“It is likely the Castle Point Local Plan is lower priority compared to the Brexit negotiations.

“I do not think we will hear until the Brexit is out of the way. We are talking to them on a weekly basis to find out if there’s any update. We are definitely not keeping anyone in the dark.

“We don’t know any more than the residents. It would be wrong to assume and tell residents what we think will happen.

“But as soon as we know more we will let the public know.”

5,000 Houses on Disused MOD site with no major road connections and No Public Transport – Will Homes England Never Learn

Halstead Gazette

Especially when if the site was (wrongly) considered suitable it screws up the SA for HEGC.

Its another Chalsgrove total waste of Homes England’s Time

Does anyone in HE have the weight and ability to tell the MOD when to take a running jump when it proposes silly none NPPF compliant sites?

PROPOSALS to build thousands of new homes on a former RAF airfield are to set to gather pace following the announcement of a new partnership between two government departments.

Homes England is set to work closely with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) on a national scheme which will aim to deliver 10,000 new houses across seven different sites belonging to the Ministry of Defence.

Wethersfield Airfield in Hedingham Road is one of the sites included in the deal, with previous estimations suggesting 4,850 homes could be built on the land.

The airfield will remain in the ownership of the MoD while Homes England prepares the site for development and works with experts on planning applications.

DIO, which is a branch of the MoD, will meanwhile be in charge of the “investment with governance” side of the scheme.

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed by both organisations to confirm the partnership and “speed up the process”.

DIO chief exec Graham Dalton, chief executive of DIO, says the deal will maximise the value of all seven sites.

He said: “We are pleased to be entering into this partnership with Homes England for the benefit of local communities.
“The combined expertise will ensure sites no longer needed for defence can be developed into much needed housing while delivering value for money.”

Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley added: “This partnership provides another great opportunity to intervene in the market – and the sites will contribute towards the 300,000 homes needed each year to meet the growing demand.

“We are pleased to be using our skills and resource to work closely with DIO on the delivery of these brownfield sites.”

It was originally understood the MoD would sell its airfield in Wethersfield before work started on developing the land.

The scheme forms part of the MoD’s defence estate optimisation programme, which will see its estate reduced by roughly 30 per cent.

Though it is expected the site will be turned into new housing, Braintree Council has previously suggested the airfield could be home to a new ‘mega prison’.
Council bosses argued the proposal, which was put forward in February 2017, could create more than 1,000 jobs and would help pump millions of pounds into the district’s economy.

2014 baseline for Housing Need Confirmed by Government, a short term fix to #oanishambles

So the narrow opportunity to game the system by submitting pllans based on the 2016 baseline closed.

Messy way of doing it.  A lords statement referring to a NPPF amendment not issued till several hours later with no explanation as to what has changes and separate and not linking ch mages to NPPG and  without links explaining what is going on.

Had an LPA did such a mes on a local plan there would be outrage.

Amazingly still no spreadsheet saying what the standard numbers are now?

Having taken the responses into account, the Government considers that its proposed
approach to providing the demographic baseline [2014] for the standard method is the most appropriate approach for providing stability and certainty to the planning system in the short-term. This decision has been taken in the context that the standard method does not represent a mandatory target for local authorities to plan for, but the starting point for the planning process. Local planning authorities may decide that exceptional circumstances justify the use of an alternative method, but they will need to identify these reasons and can expect them to be tested by the Planning Inspectorate during the examination of their plans. Local authorities may also not be able to meet their identified housing need in full, for example because of land constraints (such as Green Belt) in their area and it may be that need is better met elsewhere. The proposed approach does not change this.
Over the next 18 months we will review the formula and the way it is set using National Statistics data with a view to establish a new approach that balances the need for clarity, simplicity and transparency for local communities with the Government’s aspirations for the housing market.

A key consideration of the standard method is to provide a degree of continuity between assessments of housing need over time. The changes to underlying assumptions in the population projections and methodological improvements to the household projections had led to significant variations in housing need at a local level, something that needs addressing in the short term. For the avoidance of doubt, the Government is clear that this does not mean that it doubts the methodological basis of the 2016-based household projections. It welcomes the work of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) following the transfer of the projections from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the steps they have taken to explain the projections, for example in their recent blog.4 The Government looks forward to the further work programme of the ONS to develop even greater confidence in the projections and is committed as the key customer to supporting the ONS ahead of the publication of the next projections

Ministerial Statement Revised NPPF

Statement However I see nothing on the NPPF or guidance webpage –  the technical consultation involved the calculation of housing need and the implication of people over wind.

Planning update:Written statement – HLWS1309
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 February 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Planning update

My Hon Friend, the Minister of State for Housing (Kit Malthouse) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The National Planning Policy Framework is fundamental to delivering the homes and other development that we need, achieving high quality places and protecting our environment.

Last year we published a revised Framework, which implemented a range of reforms to help make planning more predictable and transparent, drive up quality and support delivery.

A consultation on further updates to the Framework and associated planning guidance ran from 26 October to 7 December 2018, and the Government is grateful to everyone who responded. Having considered those responses, we are making very minor changes to the text of the Framework, which are reflected in an updated version being published today. A copy of the revised Framework is available on the Department’s web site, alongside our response to the consultation.

No New Large Sites – and Nothing New in the #Camkox Arc- In Garden Town /Villages Announcement

All of the large sites announced had either been in the announcement two years ago, been admitted since or like Carlisle have been in emerging plans for several years.

Despite the prospectus favouring large sites (10,000 dwellings plus) especially in the Oxford Cambridge Arc, everything else is village scale and even includes additional funding to some old sites where the Ministry and Homes England are furious with the authorities for slow progress.  Some of the sites are too small even to support  primary school and are just edge of settlement estates that would have come forward anyway.

What does this show? It shows that a short term competitive process removed from strategic plans is no mechanism for working up proposals for strategic scale garden communities.  The ministry’s efforts should be focussed on support strategic plans – which are struggling everywhere in terms of expertise, quality of spatial expression and methodology.


East Cambs fails to publish unsoundness finding, inspector goes postal, issue is under standard method old plans easier to pass 5 YHLS

East Cambs Inspector

25 Jan

I am disappointed that following several requests, my Programme Officer is still unable to upload my letter to the Council of 19 December 2018.
It is now over a month since I sent my original letter, which in the interests of transparency, should have been placed on the Examination website.
I have asked for this to happen on numerous occasions. As, no doubt, you are aware, this situation is highly irregular.
Please ensure that the Programme Officer’s job is facilitated and the letter is uploaded today and without delay.
Over seven weeks have elapsed, since my letter to the Council of
5 December 2018, which stated that I found that the plan was unsound but
could be found sound with main modifications. The Programme Officer has, and no doubt, will be receiving further enquiries as to the progress of the Plan.
In such circumstances, I have instructed the Programme Officer, who works independently of the Council, to respond that a letter has been sent to the Council setting out what I consider to be the main modifications which would be required in order that the Plan be found sound. If a request is made for a copy of the letter, clearly the Programme Officer will provide such a letter as it should be in the public arena, and indeed, I have explicitly asked that it be so.
I understand from email correspondence, via the Programme Officer, that the Council is still considering the implications of the potential main modifications.

8 Feb

In early December, following the hearing sessions, and taking into account all representations, hearing statements, together with my site visits, I came to the conclusion that the Plan as submitted was unsound. However, I was of the opinion that with modifications it could be capable of being found sound. I informed the Council of this in my letter of 5 December 2018.
I sent a further letter on 19 December 2018. This set out where the main
modifications were required and requested that the Council work these up to form a schedule of modifications, which could then be formally consulted upon. This would
have enabled me, with the benefit of any consultation responses, to write my final report to the Council which would have included the main modifications necessary for the Plan to be found.
Unfortunately, as the Council has given no firm indication to date that it intends to progress work on a schedule of modifications and has not replied to my previous requests for confirmation that it would do so, I am unable to move forward with my examination of the submitted Plan which must take place in an open and transparent

Whats the reason for the delay?  See this report

Normally, and in line with the procedural guide, officers work collaboratively with an Inspector so that common ground is reached on what modifications are likely necessary to a Plan. In practice, around 98-100% of modifications are normally
‘agreed’, either in principle or in precise detail, as part of the hearing sessions themselves i.e. they are debated and ‘agreed’ in the public forum, even for those matters which a Council might not ideally want the modification, but accepts the
need for it for a Plan to be found sound. To put it another way, an Inspector rarely springs surprises on a council, post hearing sessions. If that happens, it is usually for a very small number of modifications, on matters where it was clear that agreement could not be reached on the day, and the Inspector would therefore have to make a ‘final call’.
3.10 Our Inspector did not undertake the examination in this way.
3.11 After most hearing sitting days, participants (including the Council) were left wondering what the Inspector was going to do about matters debated that day. Agreements were often not reached, or a suggested way forward not given by the Inspector. The Inspector catch phrase became ‘I have a lot of thinking to do on that matter’.

3.12 As such, officers:
 struggled to know what modifications might be necessary;
 for many policy areas, had no opportunity to discuss with the Inspector
whether such modifications were indeed necessary, or what form of
wording they should take.
This is highly unusual, and, whilst not unlawful, not in accordance with the
procedural guide.
3.13 Thus, throughout the process, officers were frustrated by both the slow speed of the examination and the considerable uncertainty as to where matters were
heading, and what modifications might be necessary.
3.14 At the close of the Hearing sessions (end of September 2018 in our case), it is normal practice for the full set of modifications to be known, perhaps subject to some detailed refinement of wording to be agreed with the Inspector on a small number of matters. Consultation on such modifications then normally takes place within 2-3 weeks of the hearings closing. In our case, that would mean an October-November 2018 consultation.
3.15 Unfortunately, our examination did not follow this normal procedure.
3.16 First, officers were left wondering what modifications might be necessary.
Second, we did not hear from the Inspector, in any meaningful way, until
December, approaching 3 months after hearings closed.
3.17 In December, the Council then received the ‘good news’ letter of 5th December 2018, which confirmed that, subject to (then unspecified) modifications, the Plan
was capable of being made sound i.e. it was suitable for adoption, provided her modifications were accepted by the Council. That letter meant that the Plan had been prepared in a lawful manner i.e. it had been prepared in accordance with all applicable legislation, consulted upon appropriately and met the Duty t
Cooperate provisions. However, we still did not know the extent of what the modifications might be.
3.18 Finally, on 19th December 2019, the Council received a letter from the Inspector,
nearly 3 months after the Hearings closed, setting out what modifications were, subject to consultation, necessary to make the plan sound. That letter is attached at appendix A.
3.19 The content of the letter raised considerable concerns, for five prime reasons:
(i) the sheer scale of modifications the Inspector feels necessary;
(ii) the lack of explanation or reasoning for the modifications (especially those
which the Council was previously unaware of);
(iii) the consequence of the modifications, which go to the heart of (or rather
take away the heart of) the Plan prepared by the Council;
Agenda Item 14 – page 4
(iv) the lack of ability for the Council to attempt to reach a consensual
agreement to the potential modifications necessary (as would normally be
the case); and
(v) the questionable basis of whether many of the modifications are truly
necessary (and whether the Inspector is, instead, trying to ‘improve’ the
plan, rather than focussing entirely on soundness matters which go to the
heart of the plan).

The following summarises some of the more fundamental ‘modifications’ required
by the Inspector, together with some brief officer comments.
 All reference to community-led / CLT development be removed from the Plan –
both ‘in principle’ supporting policy, and sites allocated for such forms of
development. No reasons are given by the Inspector as to why such policies are ‘unsound’ (nor, for that matter, why her decision contradicts the previous
Inspector examining our 2015 Local Plan, who found the principles of such
policies to be sound).
The redistribution of housing across the Cambridge sub-region (as agreed by all Councils of the sub-region) be removed, resulting in 1,500 homes increase to East Cambridgeshire. Inspectors concluding other Cambridgeshire plans in 2018 (Cambridge and South Cambs) and the almost finalised plan in 2019 (Huntingdonshire), all accept the redistribution and cooperation associated with it to be sound. Our 2015 Local Plan Inspector also found it sound….

ALthough the lack of communication is worrying the striking down of the Cmbridgeshire redribution is even more worrying as this was critical in getting the deal on numbers done.

Council should be mindful of an important implication which will arise, if the recommendations attached are agreed.
3.29 As a reminder, the Council has struggled since June 2015 to be able to demonstrate a ‘five year land supply’ as required by national policy, with two appeal decisions (in 2015 and again in 2018) going against the Council. The overriding reason why the Council has been unable to demonstrate a five year land supply is not due to a lack of permissions given by this Council or a lack of allocations in our Local Plan (we have approximately 9 years’ worth of immediately available supply on that count), but due to the lack of delivery of homes on the ground. Where homes are not built, national policy requires the  Agenda Item 14 – page 7
‘backlog numbers’ to be added to the next five years. As each year passes, the backlog increases, to the point whereby it becomes virtually impossible to regain a five year land supply (for example, we would need to be building approximately 1,200 homes per year, for the next few years, to ever ‘catch up’, a 400% increase on current build rates).
3.30 If the Council decides to proceed with the current emerging plan (i.e. it accepts the Inspector’s modifications and does not withdraw the plan), it is possible that the Local Plan can be adopted by Autumn 2019 (having taken into account the next procedural steps required). At that point (but not before), we would have a
Five Year Land Supply. However, as highlighted in this report, there would be a considerable risk of that position being lost again in the not too distant future, because the Inspector has: (a) increased the overall housing numbers; (b) removed our policy to spread any backlog over the whole plan (and instead made
it, in effect, compulsory to make it up in the first five years); and (c) has
unrealistically increased housing numbers on allocation sites. Policy within the NPPF will probably mean our five year land supply will be secure, post adoption, until 31st October 2020 (i.e. for about a year after adoption), but realistically the Inspector modifications are likely to make it very hard to sustain a five year land supply beyond that date.
3.31 Thus, in simple terms, proceeding to adopt the Plan will likely mean a five year land supply position is secured from Autumn 2019 to October 2020, but unlikely beyond that date.

3.32 If the Plan is withdrawn, we obviously would continue to have no Five Year Land Supply for the present time.
3.33 However, under the ‘withdraw’ option, and perhaps surprisingly, when we reach April 2020 we almost certainly will, under current national policy, regain our five year land supply position. This is because new (autumn 2018) national policy states that, when a Local Plan is 5 years old (which ours will be, come April 2020), any ‘backlog’ of development not built gets wiped clean (the precise reference for this policy being NPPG Paragraph ID: 2a 017 20180913).

Totally peverse.  The para reference refers to every para in that guidance but the issue is the ‘cap’ which is based on the annual rate, and should be withdrawn or irgently clarified it is the average plus the backlog.