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Delay looms for blueprint
A BLUEPRINT that will dictate where thousands of new homes are to be built in Basingstoke and Deane could be delayed by as much as a year following a damning High Court ruling.
Mr Justice Lindblom blew apart the borough council’s core strategy development blueprint in April after describing the Conservative-led administration’s exclusion of the 820-hectare Manydown land from the planning process as “unlawful and irrational”.
The judge’s ruling came after The Manydown Company, which sold the land to the borough and county council in 1996, took legal action over the Tory-led administration’s failure to consider the site for development.
The judge’s ruling means councillors must now look again at where new homes should go in the borough over the next 15 years.
On Thursday, the council’s planning and infrastructure committee will look at how to resurrect the core strategy, and the potential of including the Manydown land in it.
A report to the committee suggests that the revised core strategy will not now be submitted to a Government planning inspector until August or September 2013 – 12 months later than planned.
Andrew Hunter, planning policy and infrastructure manager, has warned members that old planning policies, including an annual house-building target of 945, are still in place. The Tory administration had hoped to bring this figure down to 594 a year.
As a result of the delay, the council cannot provide evidence that it has enough land available for five years’ worth of house-building – a Government requirement.
Mr Hunter said: “A robust five-year land supply position can no longer be demonstrated from 2011-12 onwards.”
Opponents fear that developers wishing to build on greenfield sites could find it easier to gain planning permission as a result.
Mr Hunter’s approach suggests looking again at the housing numbers required in September, and reviewing sites for inclusion in the core strategy in November or December.
The updated plan could then be put before the public in March and April next year. Once a final plan is agreed, it will then go before a Government inspector for approval.