Runnymede resolves to withdraw core strategy over failure to co-operate

Out-Law News | 01 Jul 2014 | 4:05 pm | 1 min. read

The planning committee of Runnymede Borough Council has resolved to withdraw the council's local plan core strategy (LPCS) from examination, after a planning inspector said it had not met its duty to co-operate with adjoining local authorities, according to a report in Planning Magazine .

The Council submitted its draft LPCS to the Secretary of State in January 2014 and an independent planning inspector was appointed to examine the document in April 2014. In his final report, the inspector recommended that the document should be withdrawn from examination.

The inspector said that the council had not established a "robust framework or methodology" for co-operation with other councils in the area, with particular failings in relation to housing and employment. He also said that the council's evidence with regard to identifying and seeking to meet housing demand was "inadequate, insufficiently up-to-date and not reflective of all relevant market and economic signals".

Discussion of the core strategy was on the agenda for a meeting of the council's planning committee on 25 June. In a report (74-page / 1.0 MB PDF) to the committee, a planning officer recommended that the LCPS be withdrawn, rather than requesting a suspension or continuing with the examination against the planning inspector's advice. The duty to co-operate cannot be applied retrospectively, said the report, adding that "there is no additional information that could be submitted to the inspector that is likely to change the conclusion that he has drawn in this matter."

"Whilst withdrawing the LCPS would mean starting work afresh on the production of a new local plan, a considerable amount of work has been carried out to produce the current strategy alongside a number of consultations", said the report. "The outcomes of this work will not be wasted and will assist in the production of a new plan in a timely manner, having helped identify the key issues on which the council needs to focus on moving forward."

The council proposes to complete its evidence gathering exercise for the production of a revised local plan by November 2014, with submission of the revised plan to the Secretary of State expected by August 2015.