Monday, 20 August 2012

Local Plan Debate (3): Lib Dem Strategy Makes Plan Unsound

Eastleigh Planners have been working on the Lib Dems' new Local Plan for 3,500 new houses in Hedge End and Botley for years according to Hedge End Town Councillor and Leader of the Borough Council Keith House.  Yet the official  report recommending the Plan to Council last month was not exactly effusive in its conclusions:

According to the report (paragraph 50), the local plan must be ‘sound’, and to be sound, a plan must be:

• Positively prepared - it must meet objectively assessed development requirements

• Justified – it must be the most appropriate strategy, considered against reasonable alternatives

• Effective – it must be deliverable over the plan period

• Consistent with national policy – it must enable the delivery of sustainable development

The report goes on to say (paragraph 51):

"Meeting these requirements in the context of the Council’s preferred strategy and the defined programme for the plan preparation process has been challenging. The process is not without its risks and the proposals will, inevitably, be subject to continuing objections, but I believe that the presubmission draft of the Eastleigh Borough Local Plan 2011 – 2029 attached to this report provides a clear, deliverable framework of  proposals and policies for meeting the borough’s development needs and for managing development pressures over the plan period."

According to the report, the Plan is "clear and deliverable", but it does not state that it is positively prepared, justified or consistent with national policy.

Surely if the plan did meet "objectively assessed development requirements" the report would say so.

Similarly why not trumpet the fact, if the plan was the "most appropriate strategy considered against reasonable alternatives"?

If it would "enable the delivery of sustainable development", you'd have thought the planners would be congratulating themselves, not passing it over in silence.

It seems that according to the Borough's own planners, the plan only meets one of the four success criteria for a "sound" plan.  And that is because it is based on the Lib Dems' flawed strategy of building at Woodhouse Lane and at South Stoneham at all costs.

The "presubmission draft" of the plan is open for consultation until 12th October.

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