HPBC: Local Plan agreement offers protection from developers

Unedited press release from Caitlin Bisknell:
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for High Peak, Caitlin Bisknell, has welcomed a unanimous council decision to submit the Local Plan to the Government’s planning inspectorate. However, she added that some criticisms of the plan showed a lack of understanding of the issues and the figures.
“By approving the plan last week the Council took a big step towards ensuring both a five year supply as well as giving much more weight to the all policies contained within the Local Plan.”

Speaking at last week’s full council meeting Labour’s Godfrey Claff highlighted the problem at the heart of the debate.
“Most members will probably be aware of the Inspectors’ recent decisions on North Road and Dinting Road in Glossop for a total of 243 dwellings.
“North Road is in the new local plan and refusal was on grounds of potential loss of bio-diversity. The inspector decided that the lack of a five year land supply was more important than the potential loss of bio-diversity.
“The Dinting Road site is not in the local plan. The application was refused because the site was within the Glossop-Hadfield strategic gap. The inspector ruled that the lack of a five year land supply was more important than the strategic gap.
“These two cases show that because of the lack of a five year land supply the local plan at its current stage is not able to protect sites that are not in the local plan, nor able to influence plan design where sites are in the local plan.”
Cllr Caff continued: “So - that is the weight of the decision: whether to start to regain some control of planning in High Peak or to continue to run development control by appeal.  There is a real advantage to be gained by approving the Plan.”
He also acknowledged concerns about the Government’s latest population projections, which show a significant reduction in the projected population for High Peak and elsewhere.  However, the Council will not know until later this year, when the Government is due to publish its revised household projections, what the impact is on High Peak’s housing need.
If the objectively assessed housing need (yes, it’s another Government set target) comes down it is unlikely to fall below High Peak’s current target of 360 per year because to do that it would have to fall by 2200 homes – a very large drop indeed.
He ended by giving an assurance that High Peak would not be building more houses than it needs. 
As part of the Local Plan, the Council has signed agreements with other authorities, including Derbyshire County Council, Cheshire East and Stockport MBC, covering joint working on school provision, road and rail transport as well as housing.

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