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Meeting tonight to discuss report
UNDESIRABLE housing developments could spring up all over the borough unless councillors come up with more building land, a new report warns.
The report says Basing-stoke and Deane Borough Council is at risk of losing its power to refuse unwanted planning applications because it has not earmarked enough land for development to meet minimum Government requirements.
The Government’s new planning rulebook, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), states that if a local planning authority does not have a five-year supply of land to build on, then planning applications should automatically be given the green light.
According to the report, planning experts have calculated that there is only 3.4 years worth of land supply if the borough council builds 770 new homes a year.
As reported last week, a key part of the borough’s Local Plan – a document outlining future development until 2029 – requires an annual house-building target.
Experts say 770 is the minimum required to win Government approval, despite calls from some councillors to lower it to 594 new homes each year. Even if a figure of 594 homes is agreed, the borough only has a 4.5-year land supply.
Members of the borough council’s planning and infrastructure committee are set to discuss the report tonight and will attempt to come up with a plan to boost the amount of land officially declared to be available for development.
The report, written by the borough’s planning policy manager Andrew Hunter, says communities may lose control in deciding where future developments can go.
Mr Hunter says: “As a result of the current lack of five-year land supply, there is a strong possibility that the borough will receive applications for housing developments, including on greenfield sites outside of the borough’s built-up areas, in locations that may not be the council’s, or the community’s, preferred locations for development.”
The report adds that developers could successfully appeal against refusals of previous applications by arguing to a Government planning inspector that the borough does not have a five-year land supply.