Local Plan rejected over ‘not enough housing’ in district

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Local Plan
Warwick District Council’s Local Plan is set to be rejected by a Government inspector for failing to provide enough housing.

The announcement, made by the council as the Courier went to press, means the plan must be redrawn or not adopted - leaving the district open to speculative planning applications.

The report by the planning inspectorate found a shortfall of 249 homes amid a “persistent under delivery of housing” across the district.

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The shortage is part of a wider one across Coventry and Warwickshire which must be met if the plan - which sets out development for the next 15 years- is to be adopted in line with national guidelines.

The plan set out 12,900 new homes across the district, with the vast majority in Leamington and Warwick.

Inspectorate Kevin Ward wrote: “The Local Plan is not positively prepared, justified, effective or consistent with national policy. It is not sound.

“Solely on the basis of the council’s own estimates there would be a shortfall in provision of some 249 dwellings over the plan period compared to the requirement.

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“Even this relies on a windfall allowance which I consider to be unjustified. There is still significant work to be undertaken. It may result in a significantly different approach to housing development in Warwick district.”

He said such work will require a review of “the spatial strategy” and “the approach to green belt land” for housing to be accommodated.

Cllr Andrew Mobbs, leader of WDC, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision and would make further statements in due course.

Warwick District Council must now work with Coventry to meet the housing need in what may require encroachment into green belt land.

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A council spokesperson said the findings are likely to have “far reaching implications” for development, stating: “The extent to which additional sites may need to be allocated and the location of any sites is not known and will require further work.”

The council will now chose either withdrawing the plan or choosing non-adoption before work starts to identify new sites for development.