New work to sort out Bath council core strategy blueprint
Council officers are working as fast as possible to re-examine the authority’s planning blueprint after concerns were raised about how many homes the area will need in the future.
Bath and North East Somerset Council’s core strategy has been suspended in response to queries from a Government inspector on a number of issues, including the district’s housing need, affordable housing, the planning policy at the Rec and provision for the traveller community.
The fact that the area currently does not have a core strategy means the council is vulnerable to unsuitable development on green belt land.
Because of this officers have been drawing up a list of necessary changes and hope to put them to councillors by February or March.
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This will then have to opened up for public consultation during March and April, before being put before the inspector in the summer.
If everything goes to plan B&NES is hoping to be able to adopt the core strategy in December.
In a report, which went before the council’s planning, transport and environment policy development and scrutiny panel yesterday, officers emphasised the importance and urgency of making sure the core strategy is implemented as soon as possible.
It said: “Of particular note is that, despite the changes being made to the plan, it cannot be guaranteed that the plan will be found sound. Therefore, every effort is being to ensure the inspector’s concerns are addressed in a rigorous way, the changes are substantiated by robust evidence and statutory procedures are closely adhered to.
“Until the core strategy is amended and adopted, the council cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply and hence is vulnerable to losing appeals on opportunistic planning applications in unsustainable locations.”
The extra work is being funded by a £100,000 budget, which was set aside by the council’s cabinet back in September to make sure all the issues were addressed comprehensively and as quickly as possible.