Local Plan Inspector – Stop ‘Latching on’ to Covid-19

Herald Series on South Oxon EIP

Councillor Neil Fawcett, who spoke on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group, also highlighted the importance of taking into account the current state of ‘big economy downfall’.

He said: “Clearly when this process started neither Covid-19 nor the prospect of a no-deal Brexit could have been foreseen.

“It is highly likely we will have enormous difficulties in delivering a high figure of homes in the early years of the plan.”

But instead of addressing Mr Fawcett’s concerns, planning inspector Jonathan Bore, who lead the first day of the examination, put his foot down and dismissed them.

He told speakers to ‘steer clear’ from talking about politics and to stop ‘latching onto’ Covid-19.

Two months ago Mr Bore also inspected and signed off Oxford City Council’s Local Plan, which includes 724 homes in the Green Belt and is dependent on surrounding districts like South Oxfordshire building homes to ‘meet Oxford’s need’.

Read more: Interactive map shows housing plan for South Oxfordshire

Councillors, however, found it difficult to refrain from the subjects when debating the future of the housing market.

Addressing the planning inspector, Ms Roberts said: “I really do not understand how we can hope for a fair outcome with this process.

“I am sorry our officers have to defend the impossible and that you have to inspect a plan that must not fail, otherwise further intervention action will be taken by Robert Jenrick.”

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