THE absence of a current Local Plan – one that will determine how many homes are built in Basingstoke and Deane in the next 15 years – is “a continuing problem and a drain on resources”.

The Peer Challenge Team said: “The absence of a Local Plan was mentioned often during our visit. It appears to be a key stumbling block and an area where the leadership of the council is being criticised.

“Delays to date have been damaging and costly, having a negative effect on housing supply and continuing planning appeals.

“Another round of consultation is likely to be required for the draft plan. We urge you to ensure that the final plan is agreed as soon as possible, and suggest this may be an area where a cross-party working group could expedite matters.”