New issues mean critical plan for future of Nuneaton and Bedworth paused

Uncertainty caused by changing expectations of future growth in Nuneaton and Bedworth has seen the borough council press the pause button on its local plan process.

Nuneaton Town Hall. Photo: Google Street View.
Nuneaton Town Hall. Photo: Google Street View.

It had already set out its preferred options borough plan document on how land can be allocated for employment, housing, transport, recreation and other uses.

It also contains detailed guidance for councillors on the borough’s planning applications committee – and for planning officers in the years ahead.

Feedback on the document was given during June and July and that is now being considered – but officers are also studying new and emerging evidence that could have an impact on the plan.

The council’s planning and development portfolio holder, Cllr Richard Smith, said: “We were expecting to be going out to public consultation again during October with a view to a comprehensive document being examined and adopted during 2023.

"Due to the changes that we are currently seeing in estimates about demand for housing and employment land, estimates produced nationally and regionally, we don’t think we can make further progress at this time.

“Instead, we now expect to delay our consultation on the next stage of this document until April next year, with a view to final adoption taking place in June 2024.

“These estimates are absolutely crucial to us being able to produce a credible plan that will be accepted by the planning inspector. With that in mind, we believe the only action open to us is to await the final publication of that evidence.”

When the council has completed its deliberations, there will be one more round of public consultation before the document is sent to the government’s planning inspectorate for consideration.

After that, a public inquiry will hear evidence from the public and the council in order to determine what the final document should include.

Cllr Smith added: “We are very grateful for all the comments received and to everyone who has taken time to view the proposals and give us feedback.

“This process of reviewing the current document and considering alternative options has been very important.”

The council’s cabinet will receive an update on the process in the New Year.