The planning inspector has sent Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough council a letter, after the stage one hearing about the Borough plan. This note is focusing specifically with the Duty to Cooperate and some of the housing figures issues, and is not meant to be his findings for all of Stage 1
And the council has put out a press release spinning this as ‘everything is going well’. The plan now faces another 2-3 months of delay.
Duty to Cooperate
However, it is not that simple. On ‘Duty to Co-operate’ the council has been given the provisional OK. The inspector wrote “Overall, therefore, the evidence before me indicates that the legal duty to cooperate has been met.” but also said “I am not inviting responses from the Council or any other party on my initial judgement on the legal aspect of the Duty to Cooperate“. Given the council has accepted allocating numbers to buy off the objections from some other councils this is not surprising.
Housing Requirement and Supply Capacity
More interesting is what the inspector has written about the so called “robust” calculation of housing numbers. What the inspector has written is “Supply capacity has clearly been the key factor as to whether or not Nuneaton and Bedworth can meet its proposed share of the full housing need of the wider HMA over the period to 2011-2031. It remains for the Council to demonstrate, as a starting point, that there is a justified and effective housing land supply to meet the need for 14,060 dwellings in the Borough as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding, including the element of unmet need within the HMA.”
The council is also being asked to provide more evidence that the target is reasonable
It is also clear that when/if the hearings restart that the discussion on housing numbers is going to be ongoing and important.