Statement by David Marchant Chief Executive –
‘The Council is naturally disappointed with the Inspector’s conclusions, particularly as evidence of the extensive dialogue between Castle Point and our neighbours had been put before the Inspector both prior to and during the hearing on the 12 December which he acknowledged had been active on-going and sustained.
The Council takes the view that protecting the green belt is more important than providing new housing and wanted this principle to be tested in public by an Inspector.
There are significant implications from the Inspector’s conclusions for the Council and neighbouring South Essex Authorities in that there needs to be a “formal mechanism in place to distribute” housing that cannot be met through their individual plans in order to meet the Duty to Co-operate.
The Council will now need to consider the letter in more detail before deciding the next course of action.’
Much as had been predicted by far greater planning minds than ourselves, it has been announced that the Examining Inspector of the Castle Point Local Plan2016 has Failed the LP at the first hurdle – the Duty to Cooperate.
This will be a great disappointment for some, whilst no doubt others will take pleasure in proclaiming “we told you so!”
Given the somewhat aggressive nature of the other neighbouring authorities, especially Thurrock, it is difficult to guess how the position can be brought together.
One can only assume this may cause quite some delay.
From the Inspector’s remarks and conclusions it may be assumed that the hasty conclusion of the cpbc Local Plan Task and Finish group work contributed to the demise of the process.
Whether certain senior councillors should have been aware of this pitfall is open to conjecture.
Officer and councillor work on progressing the Local Plan2016 appears uncoordinated.
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