Cornwall Council supports submission of the Local Plan to the Secretary of State
And there it is, after many years of work, discussion, argument and counter argument, the elected Members of Cornwall Council voted in favour to support the submission of the Strategic Policies element of the Local Plan to the Secretary of State. These policies are an important first part of the Local Plan and gives the flexibility that encourages Neighbourhood Plans- an important part of localism.
The actual vote was 76 in favour, 19 against, with five Councillors abstaining. 23 Councillors were missing from the vote.
In this plan, the Council will be able to demonstrate a five-year land supply. This is very important as inspectors are giving limited weight to a plan and with no agreed five-year land supply. This leaves the Council vulnerable to planning appeals, and the Council cannot remain vulnerable to planning by appeal. Developers know this, and can overturn a Council decision by mounting a strong appeal using expensive experts to put across their cases. Furthermore, without a Local Plan the Council is heavily reliant on old saved policies that have to be compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework to be applicable. In the case of the former Kerrier area, where there are no saved policies, there is sole reliance on the NPPF.
The number of housing has been the biggest single issue in formulating the Local Plan. The Planning Minister and guidance (ie the Government) in the NPPF, have said it is up to Council to set their own housing targets evidence, however, the Government have made is crystal clear the housing number target has to be based on sound evidence. This evidence comes from the projections from the Office of National Statistics in the Strategic Housing Market Need Assessment. The SHMNA has then moderated these downwards to appropriately reflect the downward trend in household formation and the 2011 census.
This evidence in the Council’s submission says 47,500 can be supported, and importantly gives the much-needed five-year land supply. As I said before, this is important in any submission, especially if you want your plan approved. Using figures from April 2014, shows that Cornwall already have about 29,000 (28,762) commitments, including around 10,000 (8,754) that have already been built since 2010. This leaves a balance of 18,500 (18,738) more to find over the next 15 years
I am glad the plan has now been approved because having no plan would be a disaster for Cornwall and would leave Cornwall at the mercy of developers. This plan will wrestle back control of development from developers and put it back in the hands of a community through Neighbourhood Plans.