Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Local Plan ramifications & difficult decisions

Arun agreed up to 580 houses per annum to be built.
Some of you may have seen the newspaper reports regarding the recent debate on the Local Plan, we had to vote on whether to agree the strategic option of providing 2000 houses Eastergate/Westergate and Barnham and also 600 houses in Angermering.

If we don’t have a local plan in place then we are vulnerable as a District for Planning by appeal, this is where a developer would put in an application on a site to the Planning authority which is rejected by local Councillors, if the Developer subsequently appeals to the planning inspectorate in Bristol, the appeal can be allowed for the sole reason that the planning authority did not have a local plan in place.

So this could get applications popping up all over the place, on Greenfield sites like Horses Field and it would be planning anarchy, also we wouldn’t get the windfalls of developer contributions to build new roads or community buildings.

This situation has arisen because the previous Labour government wanted to see more house building and designed this into the system; the coalition government also wants more house building so has allowed the system to continue.  As a country we need more houses, but this is not localism, it’s planning by duress.

 So I voted for the recommendation not because I wanted to or that I believe putting these houses in these locations was desirable, I voted for it to stop planning by appeal and I saw a vote for yes as the lesser of two evils and however I looked at the conundrum I could not see a way out.

It was not an easy or popular decision, but we couldn’t wait any longer in making a decision however unpalatable or unpopular as we have already had a number of applications approved on appeal.

Until next month,

Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward and Cabinet Member for the Environment on Arun DC.   He can be contacted on email pauldendle@aol.com.


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