Telford and Wrekin Local Plan update
Published August 8th, 2017
The Local Plan Inspector published his modifications to the Plan on 31st July. Some of these could have significant implications looking forward.
The Inspector is unconvinced by Telford & Wrekin Council’s assessment of housing requirements and has increased the number of homes sought by the Local Plan by 11%, up from 13,400 new homes to 14,950 new homes by 2031.
The door has been opened to further increases in housing numbers in the near future by requiring the Plan to keep under review the issue of whether Telford & Wrekin should accommodate some of Birmingham’s housing needs. Birmingham currently has a shortfall of 38,000 new homes that it cannot accommodate within its own boundaries and it remains to be seen how this will be distributed between the local planning authorities in the region.
The Inspector has deleted from the Plan all the allocations of land for housing that do not already have planning consent, as he considers that the housing site selection exercise underpinning the Local Plan is “flawed”. Crucially, the Local Plan Inspector’s main modifications to the Plan include a commitment that, “The Council will identify further housing sites to achieve the Local Plan’s housing requirement through the preparation of a Housing Site Allocations Local Plan”.
Other significant changes that are positive for landowners include the Inspector’s deleting of the Plan’s original intention to direct development to brownfield sites to avoid agricultural land and his deletion of a long list of thirteen requirements that development must meet. In the place of the 13 requirements, the Inspector has inserted a policy that says unequivocally that if policies are ‘out-of-date’ (for example if there is not a five year housing land supply) then the Council will normally grant planning permission. The effect of these changes is to make the Plan far more ‘development-friendly’.
The above changes mean that the Local Plan is likely to be supplemented within a few years by a further Plan that identifies additional housing site allocations. This re-opens the door to suitable sites being allocated for development in this future document.
If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact Helen Howie