Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Real EstateUK

Council appeals to Government about planning, housing

Michael Gove

Braintree Council sent a letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove amid rising concerns over housing developments

Frustrated council bosses have appealed to the Government after claiming public confidence in the planning system is being destroyed.

Braintree Council sent a letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove amid rising concerns over housing developments.

The move comes following a planning appeal where an inspector ruled the council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing.

That is crucial as it means developers are more likely to win on appeal if the council turns down planning applications.

It could mean more homes are built than the number required by Government and in places not planned for in the Local Plan for the district.

The council says the decision on its housing supply was reached after an inspector removed homes due to be built on a number of major developments across the district from the calculations despite the sites already having been given outline planning permission.

The four sites include one off Broad Road, Towerlands Park, land between Long Green and Braintree Road, and north of Oak Road, in Halstead.

The letter was signed by all four political group leaders at the council – Conservative Graham Butland, Green James Abbott, Halstead Residents’ Association’s Jackie Pell and Labour’s David Mann.

It highlights the frustration the council and residents feel about the current system and how it appears to be allow unplanned development.

Braintree Council insists it has a five-year housing supply and has been significantly increasing the amount of homes which have planning permission in the district, to ensure local needs are met, but also that infrastructure provision is in place at the same time as the new homes are built.

Council planning boss Gabrielle Spray said: It is incredibly frustrating that we find ourselves being continually challenged on our housing supply or for inspectors to make comments on housing supply in cases where it has little relevance to that decision, even though we can demonstrate five-year housing supply using the government’s own method.

Spray said: Allowing unplanned development to meet what we believe is an inflated five-year housing supply calculation destroys public confidence in the planning system, rides roughshod over strategic plans for infrastructure and undermines local councillors who have made incredibly difficult decisions to approve large levels of growth and have worked hard to achieve an up to date Local Plan and five-year housing land supply.


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