BROMSGROVE’S Local Plan has been put on hold by the Planning Inspector until the council reassesses the proposal’s housing numbers.
In his report, questions were raised, both about the number of properties being proposed and the way in which the conclusions were reached to come to that number.
As Redditch’s plan goes forward for consideration in September, the inspector stated of the Bromsgrove one that ‘further work was required in order to demonstrate a robust and objective assessment of housing needs’.
He added it would be inappropriate to proceed until that work had been carried out, suggesting relevant stakeholders and the public were consulted about any material changes to the plan.
He said he had no option but to postpone the remaining hearings that had been scheduled in relation to the plan.
And he urged Bromsgrove District Council to consider his interim conclusions and prepare a timetable which set out how it intended to progress.
Labour Group leader Coun Luke Mallett claimed it was the Conservatives’ interference in the plan-making process and their ‘refusal to listen to other voices on the council’ which led to the Inspector putting the plan on hold.
“This could mean months of delay and costs whilst potentially laying Bromsgrove District open to hostile planning applications from developers anticipating the imminent green belt review.
“The current draft plan began consultation in the spring of 2011 and is still nowhere close to being signed off, more than three years later.
“Bromsgrove urgently needs a plan in place and the numbers need to stack up – what has been put forward by the council’s leadership is not fit for purpose,” he added.
He added local people would, justifiably, be asking how much this latest delay is costing the taxpayer.
Coun Kit Taylor, who is responsible for planning on the district council, said: “A series of seminars were conducted to gain and take into account the views of all members
“The so-called matters raised in the chamber were a series of attacks on the plan which were unfortunately not backed up by correct and pertinent facts.
“Whilst I would agree that Bromsgrove needs a plan in place I am disappointed with the continual negativity expressed by the leadership of the Labour group.”