• Independent group’s important questions on EDDC local plan debacle: Not answered.

    14th April 2014 | News | Claire
  • Instead, the conservative leadership opted for the distraction technique, with oblique references made to the national situation on local plan production, which did not seem relevant to EDDC’s predicament.

    The answers to the questions, it was stated, would be provided in a report to the Development Management Committee on 6 May 2014 “which will outline the resulting workload and issues deriving from the Inspector’s letter.”

    I asked that instead the answers could be made available within the next week or so, given the gravity of the situation. This request was refused by the chief executive.

    To all our written questions on the local plan, Cllr Paul Dviani, EDDC leader, said:

    “I would however highlight the following which was published by the RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) on Friday:

    Local Plan survey highlights housing headaches:

    English Local Plans are taking longer to get through the examination process and more are being delayed because of problems over housing assessments and provision. That’s the headline assessment of consultancy Nathaniel Litchfield & Partners (NLP) which has just published its second annual assessment of development plan activity outside London.

    Its review of the one hundred and nine local development plans that have been examined or submitted for examination since the National Planning Policy Framework came into force two years ago found that many have effectively stalled because of the NPPF’s requirement for authorities to meet “objectively assessed needs” for housing.

    The consultancy reported that just 40 of the 109 plans have been found sound, while a quarter of these are subject to immediate or early review, chiefly because of housing issues. Some fifteen plans have been withdrawn with the main reason being been the provision of housing. However, the consultancy also noted that more plans were in difficulty after failing the ‘Duty to Cooperate’ requirement.

    Meeting housing needs across a housing market area remains a major challenge where constraints on delivery in one area impose unmet requirements on another.

    Worryingly, more than fifty per cent of English local planning authorities outside London have yet to formally publish new local plans since the introduction of the NPPF, according to this NLP analysis.

    Of the remaining 54 plans whose examinations are ongoing, almost half have experienced delays and require further modifications to their original submitted plans, the NLP analysis highlighted.

    NLP Director Matthew Spry said developers and others interested parties were now “far more likely to engage in local plan examinations, and they are doing so with more sophisticated evidence on objectively assessed needs”.

    Our questions can been viewed here – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/east_devon_independents_submit_raft_of_questions_on_local_plan_failure

    However, the conservative leadership’s apparent obfuscation attempt rather backfired and Cllr Ben Ingham had a number of supplementary questions, which will be displayed later on this post.  Cllr Ingham’s further questions had the effect of making Cllr Diviani a bit snappy. (Did he really think the non-answers were acceptable?)

    It is the latest in a long line of non-answers to legitimate written questions of public interest, by councillors that EDDC’s conservative leadership has declined to answer.  In my view this reflects the continued refusal of the administration to be fully publicly accountable.