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Planning process undermined, says MP
7:00am Wednesday 6th February 2013 in News
A PLANNING chief said a Government response to “opportunistic” housing plans in north Oxfordshire does not fill him with him confidence.
New estates backed by the council have not been built and plans for further estates have yet to be agreed by the authority in its new ‘local plan’ for the area.
This has led to plans being submitted for villages like Bloxham and Hook Norton, which are not in the local plan, but which developers say could provide much-needed homes.
Sir Tony told the Commons that although the council can refuse these, they can be overturned on appeal at the Planning Inspectorate.
He warned: “If that continues to happen it will completely undermine any concept of a local plan-led system.”
The inspectorate must get “clear guidance” on draft local plans or risk “very opportunist” planning applications, he said.
Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “The draft plan that Cherwell District Council has produced emphatically does have some weight in decisions.”
He said estates which have not been built should be “considered deliverable” unless they are “clearly and demonstrably unviable”. But he added that the lack of homes is “one of the greatest crises of social justice”.
Mr Gibbard said of Mr Boles’ statement: “It does not give me confidence that the emerging local plan will be a great factor in inspectors’ decisions.”
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