York's controversial core strategy has been delayed, possibly for up to six months, following the inspectors' raising concerns to its soundness. Below Turley Associates looks at the issues and what this means for housing numbers in York.
Bob May, Turley Associates
The Inspector appointed to examine York City's Core Strategy outlined a number of very serious concerns regarding the potential soundness of the plan and effectively put its programme for adoption back by over six months.
Chief amongst these concerns was a failure to observe the duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities over site allocations and a failure to make proper provision to meet housing needs.
The Inspector said the overall strategy for the amount of development, its distribution and its delivery across the City of York area is not clear, justified or deliverable.
He was particularly critical of the approach to housing, with the Strategy failing to identify specific sites to meet a five year supply as required by Government policy. The Strategy also underestimates the overall number of houses needed by around 1,400 and whilst some sites are allocated, there are no sites identified for at least 3,730 of the dwellings required.
The Inspector was also highly critical of how the Strategy leaves many of the policies and detail to Supplementary Documents, saying it was a move deliberately designed to avoid the independent examination of policies that would significantly affect development in the City. He said many of them seem to be used to avoid taking the difficult, crucial, strategic decisions that should be decided now in the Core Strategy.
All of this leaves the City with a mountain of work to do in a relatively short period of time and leaves York without an Adopted Development plan for even longer.
The Publication of the NPPF in March places the onus on LPAs to get on and prepare sound plans quickly. Where there isn't a plan in place there is a presumption in favour of Sustainable Development and the default answer to development proposals will be "yes".
York was already in that position and it now will be there for longer. If developers can demonstrate that their schemes comply with the NPPF, York will have little option but to approve them.
Bob May is the Leeds Office Director at planning and urban design consultancy Turley Associates. He can be reached by email: email@example.com. Visit www.turleyassociates.co.uk for further information.