Coventry City Council’s Local Plan found to be unsound and rejected by Government Inspector
Photo courtesy of lamentables of flickr
20th March 2013
Coventry City Council has been forced to withdraw its local plan after Government Inspector, Robert Yuille, found it to be unsound due to a failure to fulfill its duty to cooperate on housing numbers with neighbouring local authorities.
The situation in Coventry was highly unusual in that the Council withdrew a Core Strategy that was found sound in 2010. The withdrawn Core Strategy made provision for 33,500 houses (26,500 to be built in Coventry, 3,500 in Nuneaton and Bedworth and 3,500 in Warwick). The revised Local Plan makes provision for a mere 11,373 houses, a significant reduction in housing numbers.
Coventry’s Local Plan drew criticism from both Birmingham City Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council formally objecting to Coventry City Council’s “core strategy” for nearly 11,373 homes, which is the same level as the figure outlined in its strategic housing market assessment (SHMA).
Relatively late in the process of preparing the Plan, Birmingham City Council, made representations to the Inspector to the effect that the Council had not met its objectively assessed need for housing or explained how any shortfall would be accommodated. It was concerned that this could have knock on implications for Birmingham and other local planning authorities. This was not a matter on which the Council and Birmingham City Council were able to reach agreement.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, also made representations on the Plan questioning whether Coventry was proposing to meet its long term housing requirements and expressed concern over the implications of it not doing so. Once again this was a situation where the disagreement between the Councils related to whether Coventry had taken the ‘right’ approach in assessing its housing requirements and a matter of soundness not of lawfulness.
Planning Inspectorate Robert Yurrie carefully considered all representations, and concluded that Coventry’s local plan did not meet the legal requirements of the 2004 Act in that the council had not engaged constructively with neighbouring local planning authorities on the strategic matter of the number of houses proposed.
He also determined such an abrupt reduction in housing provision could have an effect on neighbouring local planning authorities in the housing market area and was another reason why further consideration should have been given to cooperating with them to ensure a consistent approach to the assessment of housing need.
Coventry City Council must now carry out a joint study with neighbouring authorities, including Birmingham City Council, to assess its housing needs across the region over the next 20 years. Once this work has been carried out, Coventry’s core strategy, along with the results of the new study, will go back before the inspector for further examination.
Green belt land needed to tackle 'major housing crisis' says city planning chief
Birmingham Development Plan 2031: Comments Form - Part C: Comments on the duty to co-operate and legal compliance
Birmingham Development Plan 2031: Completing Comments Form - Part B Comments on soundness
Everybody needs good neighbours: Invitation to Brum's neighbouring LA's to comment on the Birmingham Development Plan 2031
Green Belt campaigners conclude the Birmingham Development Plan 2031 (Pre-submission version) is unsound
Pressure mounting on infrastructure providers as Draft Birmingham Development Plan released
Important rail link construction hits the buffers
Public sector housing contribution at fault for Birmingham’s housing shortage
Up to 19,000 new homes proposed near busy Lichfield to Birmingham rail route
Calls for Birmingham City Council to review housing levels as green belt targeted for new homes
Council targets green belt homes while thousands of houses stand empty across Birmingham
Sutton Coldfield Rural Campaign challenges Council’s housing projections
A38 commuter route puts Birmingham Local Plan in reverse