Council defends delay over planning document – saying it is ‘vital’ to get it right

A key planning document, which will effectively control future housing development throughout East Lindsey, is unlikely to come into force for at least another 12 months.

East Lindsey District Council has confirmed it does not expect to submit it’s draft Local Plan for Government approval until next year.

Key elements of the plan will include identifying sites for housing and the minimum number of homes to be built over the next 15 years. Once adopted, the plan will make it difficult for developers to build on non-specified sites.

ELDC has launched a strong defence of its policy and says submitting a rushed and flawed plan could leave taxpayers footing a big bill.

ELDC’s new planning policy committee chairman Coun Richard Fry said: “I fully understand the vexation, anger and frustration about the situation. As a council, we share those views. Completing the draft plan is a priority but it is a complicated process.

“Sites for housing and housing numbers are only part of the whole process. We are making progress but there is still a lot of work to do.

“If we submitted a draft now, it would be flawed and would no doubt be rejected by an inspector. We would be back to square one and have to start the process all over again. It is vital we get it exactly right and if that takes time then so be it.”

Coun Fry was backed by ELDC’s planning policy manager Anne Shorland. She confirmed ELDC is waiting for consultants to supply all-important housing supply numbers for towns and villages. The draft plan will need to go through public consultation before a Government appointed inspector has the final say.

Ms Shorland revealed it could take ‘months’ for a decision, with the costs often running at £900-a-day during the decision-making process.

She hit back at suggestions the draft plan had already been rejected twice.

She said as part of the process, councils can ask an independent inspector to check various details. Ms Shorland confirmed on two occasions, ELDC had been advised to revise housing supply numbers – which were too low – and plans to provide accommodation for gypsies and travellers.

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