Out-Law News 1 min. read

Inspector recommends withdrawal of Bolsover draft local plan

A planning inspector has recommended that Bolsover District Council should withdraw its local plan from examination (10-page / 160KB PDF) because it has not complied with its duty to co-operate with other authorities during the preparation of the plan.

Following a number of examination hearings in April, the inspector has written to the Council and warned that the submitted plan is not sound.  

The inspector said that, although the Council had held a number of liaison meetings with other authorities, he had not been persuaded that those meetings were "anything other than consultative and information sharing gatherings". He said that the meetings did not provide "adequate evidence of sustained joint working with concrete actions and outcomes" as required by policy.

The inspector said that his concerns about the duty to co-operate were centred on a 58 hectare strategic site which has been proposed for a major residential and commercial development.

"There is no evidence of a proactive, ongoing and focussed approach to strategic planning and partnership working or that the Council’s councillors and officers have adequately engaged in discussion, negotiation and action to ensure effective planning on an ongoing, constructive basis for this important strategic matter in its plan-making processes," the inspector said.

The inspector recommended that the plan should be withdrawn and returned to the preparation stage. He said that this would involve "detailed, proactive discussions and negotiations" with North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield councils "at both officer and elected member levels".

The Council said in a statement that whilst it is disappointed that the plan had not been "immediately accepted", it "understands that this is not an uncommon result and it will now take some time to reflect on the inspector’s findings before agreeing a way forward".

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