Just as the examination of the City Plan [Core Strategy] starts tomorrow at the Brighthelm Centre it has become clear that inspectors are taking a tough line on the duty to cooperate and housing need evidence as four strategies in other places have flopped.
The duty to cooperate requires planning authorities to engage with their neighbours to try to provide sufficient housing. The problem for most places in the south-east is that very few have any spare capacity to offer to a neighbour even if the inclination to do so existed, which is largely doesn’t. Two of the four councils whose plans have been found wanting failed in their duty to cooperate but it is difficult to see what more can be done to fulfil the duty other than to make a request and have a few meetings to discuss it.
Meanwhile the National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] stipulates that councils “use their evidence base to ensure that their local plans meet the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area”.
Brighton & Hove’s evidence base is up-to-date with a new study prepared specifically for the examination but it revealed that we need 20,000 homes over the next 20 years [about 1000 more than previously thought] but land has only been identified for 11,300.
While Inspector Laura Graham may not challenge the evidence, she may be tempted to challenge the level of provision especially since there are sites on the urban fringe that have not been included in the City Plan.
Read related items on:
Local Development Framework
Brighton & Hove City Council