After reading the Appeal Decision 3152707 I have concluded the Inspector hearing it was scrupulous in the examination of the evidence made available to him prior to and during the hearing. I hope the Inspector who will examine Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan 2015 2035 is as thorough.
The appeal decision reveals how totally inept Central Bedfordshire Council are at constructing arguments to use to defend appeals made by developers like Gladman Developments Limited against its planning decisions. As according to the Inspector determining the appeal, providing Central Bedfordshire Council have a 5year land supply, their existing development framework policies arising from their Core Strategy 2009 are not out of date. In the particular case of development in Clophill at the former Readshill Quarry the Core Strategy can be used to protect the Greensand Ridge in a manner the residents of Clophill would support. Also, these policies could be used by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee to refuse planning permission for developments impacting on similarly distinctive Landscapes for example the North Chilterns AONB, developments directly outside Central Bedfordshire settlement envelopes and in the open countryside.
The Inspector also points out the Core Strategy covers the period up to 2026, so there is no good reason why Central Bedfordshire Council should rush through the development of its Local Plan 2015-2035 in response to a threat to intervene in plan making made by Secretary of State Sajid Javid MP in a speech during November 2017. As so far all of the Planning Authorities mentioned in the speech condemning tardy plan making have not faced any interventions in their plan making and because the planning status quo in Central Bedfordshire still has 9 years left to run!
The technical arguments put forward in the appeal decision regarding the content of the SHMA and its contribution in arriving at an OAHN for Central Bedfordshire can definitely be used to support arguments against the Central Bedfordshire OAHN. Nevertheless, these technical arguments justify an OAHN of 32000 houses over the period of 2015-2035 rather than the appellants justification of a 48540 OAHN over the same period. If an OAHN of 32000 houses is unacceptable to Central Bedfordshire Town and Parish Council’s? then these groups will have to generate their own evidence to justify an OAHN lower than 32000 so there is less impact on the Central Bedfordshire Green Belt and other nationally important landscapes and less impact due to smaller quanta of housing development in non-Green Belt parishes and at existing urban centres.
Finally, a significant point to note is in the appeal decision the Inspector acknowledges some of the technical OAHN related arguments used to determine the appeal will have to be more thoroughly justified at the examination of CBC’s Local Plan 2015-2035. Also, if the pre-submission Local Plan or a variant of it is approved or approved subject to review, Core Strategy 2009-2026 policies will become defunct if they are not in the approved version of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan 2015-2035. If these policies do become defunct, then the people of Central Bedfordshire will have no defence against inappropriate development like the controversial housing development proposed at the former Readshill Quarry Clophill.