East Cambs local plan is ‘out of date’ just three months after being adopted

How the new north Ely development will look

How the new north Ely development will look - Credit: Archant

East Cambs District Council may have to spend around £125,000 to revise its local plan just three months after it was adopted.

Today’s (Thursday) full council meeting is being asked to agree to the revision after a planning inspector branded it as ‘out of date’.

Inspector L Rodgers, who granted an appeal on outline plans to build up to 128 homes on land off Field End in Witchford, based his decision on national policy which meant the East Cambs local plan was redundant.

According to the local plan the site was outside the development area which is why the application by Gladman Developments Ltd was refused by East Cambs.

National policies state local authorities should have a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, which Mr Rodgers decided East Cambs does not have.

He concluded proposals for the 128 houses had no conflict with any other local plan policy other than policy Growth2 which meant it was outside the defined development area.

A report to today’s council meeting states: “With lengthy and technical reasoning, the inspector determines that the council cannot demonstrate it has a five year supply of land and thus he also determines, in accordance with national policy, that housing supply policies are therefore out of date.”

Most Read

Mr Rodgers’ conclusion is in conflict with another inspector who in March decided the council did have a five year land supply, but he was also the one who had examined the local plan and found it sound.

The report points out that Mr Rodgers’ decision do not mean “all speculative applications for development on unallocated land are suitable for development”.

The report highlights the benefits of a review which include addressing the ‘five year land supply’ problem, making the plan user friendly and to assist with ‘certainty’ in planning and development terms.

It also points out that it is not uncommon for reviews of local plans to take place shortly after adoption, although revisions normally start two to three years later.

The disadvantages include the estimated cost of around £125,000 over three years; the revised plan should be complete by 2018.