Medway Council approves increased provision in interim housing target

Out-Law News | 16 Jun 2014 | 5:20 pm | 1 min. read

Medway Council has approved an increase in its housing target from 815 to 1,000 homes per year as an interim target, pending the delivery of a new Local Plan for the borough.

In November 2013, the Council withdrew its Core Strategy from examination in order to start work on a new Local Plan, on the recommendation of a Planning Inspector.

A site at which the Council had planned 5,000 homes had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest meaning that modifications required to the draft Core Strategy were "so significant as to amount to the plan being rewritten", the inspector had said in her report (9-page / 70KB PDF).

The Council held a cabinet meeting on 10 June to outline the proposed agenda for delivering the new Local Plan. A report from the Council officers (117-page / 3.8 MB PDF) said that, while the Council intended to "commission a comprehensive assessment of housing and economic needs" in order to inform provision for housing in the new Local Plan, the assessment was not expected to be complete before spring 2015.

The report said that the Council had commissioned interim analysis from research firm Opinion Research Services in order to bring its interim five-year housing supply targets within the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) pending the results of the full assessment. The analysis recommended an allocation of 1,000 homes per year, an increase of 22% on the 815 homes a year in the withdrawn Core Strategy, which the Council understood to be based on figures that were not in line with the NPPF.

In order to avoid increasing "the risk of inappropriate development in unsustainable locations", the report recommended that the Council approve the use of the updated target of 1,000 homes per year.

The Council anticipates that the new Local Plan will be submitted for examination by the end of 2016 and adopted in summer 2017.