Following on from the last evening’s Castle Point council meeting to debate the Local Plan2016 previously previewed HERE.
Regional strategies were disbanded in 2010, it has taken 7 long and expensive years for Castle Point Council and neighbouring Boroughs to realise in place of these strategies that they should have been working with neighbouring Boroughs to organise mutually beneficial Housing strategies rather than having Housing Numbers imposed on them!
There appears an acceptance amongst councillors, rightly or wrongly, that the Housing Supply figure of 100 dwellings per Annum is inadequate, and will be adjusted upwards! Whether the confidence in relying on the re-adopted out of date 1998 Local Plan is misguided will, no doubt be examined by developers.
The position now is that a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been approved by all 5 South Essex local planning authorities, as a way forward in compliance with the required Duty to Cooperate part of the Local Plan process.
Having attended the Duty to Cooperate Hearing held by the Inspector and attended by members of the other 4 South Essex planning authorities, we must hope that a line is drawn under the aggressive and non-cooperative approach towards Castle Point representatives!
If not cpbc will be as uncomfortable within the MoU partnership, as the UK appear to have been in the European Union!
It appears now that work on the Local Plan will move further outside of cpbc members control. More strategic work and decisions will be taken at MoU level, which will be in the hands of officers and the Leaders of councils. Their decisions will be difficult to reject, however there remains the possibility that having completed the attempt to cooperate, despite failure, the Duty to Cooperate will have been complied with!
Having steered Castle Point council in this direction, an Inspector will expect to see some tangible results, not just a “we tried” but “we failed” pretence exercise, before a New Local Plan MkIII is (re) submitted.
A show of hands was not called for following the “debate” as the necessary agreement to follow cpbc recommendation to withdraw the Local Plan2016 and seek to comply with the Duty to Cooperate, was agreed by the majority of members.
Cllr Stanley having opened and closed the debate just about managed to stop himself saying “I Told You So”!