West Sussex and Oxfordshire local plans under a cloud
Two more local plans are experiencing serious turbulence. Arun District Council’s strategy is facing a 12-18-month suspension, while West Oxfordshire District Council’s draft local plan is facing uncertainty because the planning authority has distanced itself from the strategic housing market assessment (SHMA), which other Oxfordshire councils are relying on.
The planning authority has also been criticised by the inspector examining its development plan for the absence of any provision of travellers’ sites.
Examination of Arun DC’s local plan now faces a lengthy suspension while the West Sussex planning authority carries out further work to ensure the strategy can meet a higher housing needs figure. The council accepts that the plan’s original figure of 580 new dwellings per annum is no longer credible and the objectively assessed need is significantly higher, in the range 641-758 dwellings per annum.
In the case of the Oxfordshire district council the public examination of its draft local plan is due to start in October.
But the inspector examining the strategy has raised major concerns over the housing figures in the strategy, the absence of any provision for travellers and whether the duty to cooperate has been met.
The inspector is particularly worried that the council has what appear to be fundamental objections to the county SHMA as well as the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan.