Councillor Sherlock, Basingstoke & Deane Cabinet Member for Planning, who had proposed a 200 increase to the number of houses for Whitchurch, has today made a Statement, following the ‘call-in’ meeting to examine his decision.

It is reproduced here in full.

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Statement by Portfolio Holder

In the light of the adjournment of the Call-in hearing of the Planning and Infrastructure committee last week until the 15th of April, and with no certainty that the hearing will be completed on that date, I am concerned that the process of developing the Local Plan may be delayed so that it cannot come to Council in July for agreement on the draft for consultation.

Progress on the Local Plan is vital to ensure that we have in place the necessary planning protections as soon as possible. Should a Local Plan not be in place by April 2014 then the Council will cease to be able to collect pooled contributions towards infrastructure from more than 5 developments, and will not have a Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule in place to enable it to collect CIL payments from new developments. Likewise, while the Council does not have a 5 year housing land supply (and it is unlikely to until the Local Plan is in place), there is the continuing threat of planning by appeal.

I consider it a priority to remove any barriers in the way of adoption of the Local Plan within the required timeframe. I am therefore withdrawing the Decision Notice no 794/PL and Cabinet will meet as soon as possible to consider a revised decision that will permit the necessary work to go forward without delay.

The decision which is being withdrawn identified sites for further evaluation. It did not determine a definitive list for inclusion in the Local Plan. The housing number is still only provisional, pending publication of further government data and subsequent analysis. This analysis, and the further evaluation of infrastructure and environmental requirements for sites, is due to be reported to Planning and Infrastructure Committee to enable them to make appropriate recommendations. I consider it most important that the work necessary to fully inform those recommendations should continue without any unnecessary impediments that could potentially be caused by the call-in process.

Cllr Donald Sherlock
3rd April 2013

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Comments (2)

  • Penny Spooner

    Does this mean that local opinion and views will not be taken into account? I feel very concerned about this statement because it makes me feel like we are being pushed out of the equation, when the issue directly concerns us. Are we able to guarantee a voice to the people who live with these decisions?

  • Keith Watts

    Penny
    I now have the revised Decision Notice for a new Cabinet Meeting on 15th March.

    So far as I can see it reverses the previous Decision and goes back to the recommendation that I and Whitchurch Town Council support\; just 25 new houses each year and local decision making through a Neighbourhood Plan on the siting of the last 200 houses.

    Keith

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