Lichfield local plan inspector recommends increased housing provision and potential early review to address neighbours' needs

Out-Law News | 20 Jan 2015 | 4:20 pm | 1 min. read

An examining planning inspector has recommended a number of modifications to Lichfield District Council's draft local plan (LDLP) in order to make it capable of adoption.

The modifications include an increase in the minimum housing provision during the plan period and a commitment to an early review or partial review of the LDLP in the event that further housing provision is required to meet the needs of neighbouring Birmingham or Tamworth.

The Council initially submitted the draft LDLP for examination in 2013. Following hearings in June and July 2013, inspector Robert Yuille raised concerns that the draft LDLP as initially submitted did not make adequate provision for the objective assessment of housing need. Hearings resumed in October 2014, after the Council had carried out further work on the draft plan, and Yuille issued his final examination report (50-page / 419 KB PDF) last week.

The inspector said the Council had "reacted constructively to information that emerged shortly before and during the hearings" about the likelihood that Lichfield would be required to assist neighbouring Birmingham and Tamworth in addressing their housing shortfalls. The Council had suggested that it would review the LDLP as and when details had emerged of how much of the respective shortfalls it would be expected to accommodate.

Yuille agreed with this approach, adding that the Council had "co-operated constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis with relevant bodies", meeting its duty to co-operate on strategic matters.

The inspector said the 8,700 homes proposed in the LDLP to be delivered in the district by 2028 did not meet the need for housing identified in the Council's evidence. In order to remedy the resulting unsoundness, Yuille recommended that the LDLP be modified to extend the planning period to 2029 to account for the delay in adoption; to increase the housing provision from 8,700 homes to 10,030 homes; and to express this housing requirement as a minimum.

Recommended modifications also included the identification of three additional strategic development allocations and the removal of phasing restrictions from certain locations identified for development.