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Pickles intervenes over North Somerset core strategy housing figure

by on April 9, 2015

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has intervened directly over the level of housing that North Somerset District Council is being expected to provide in its core strategy.

The Secretary of State has taken the unprecedented step of announcing he will look at the housing provision required by the planning inspector who handled the core strategy examination.

The Secretary of State noted that the strategy has “undergone a complex and protracted examination at a time of transition in national planning policy”.

He added: “I wish to review and consider the inspector’s conclusions on Policy CS13 Housing Requirement to ensure national policy has been applied and reflected correctly. I wish to ensure that there is maximum clarity for the community on the outcome of the examination.”

North Somerset originally adopted the strategy in April 2012 with a housing policy to plan for 14,000 houses. Following a legal challenge, the policy was found to be unlawful on the grounds that the independent planning inspector had failed to give adequate and intelligible reasons for his support of the council’s housing requirement.

The plan was then referred back to PINS and, despite the council agreeing in the meantime to increase the number to 17,000, a further examination resulted in a new inspector concluding that 17,000 houses was still insufficient to meet the council’s needs.

Instead, the inspector confirmed a housing figure of 20,985 – a 50 per cent increase on the council’s original number. Two local MPs and the planning authority wrote to the Secretary of State asking him to review the housing figure

David Turner, director of development and environment for the council, said: “We have been working hard with the Planning Inspectorate to reach a deliverable approach to balancing future housing needs while respecting the considerable environmental constraints, including green belt, that define our area.

“It is gratifying that the Secretary of State acknowledges the unique set of circumstances that have prevented us from having an adopted plan, and that he considers it necessary to review the inspector’s conclusions.”

In the meantime the council will use the evidence it has prepared through the examination process to decide planning applications for new housing development and will continue to resist inappropriate development proposals that would damage the environment of North Somerset.

 

Roger Milne

2 Comments
  1. David B permalink

    just a small point – perhaps the tilte should make it clear this is about North Somerset CS

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Thanks David. A good spot. I’ve updated the title accordingly. Sarah

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