An independent planning inspector has found the city’s long-term plan to provide homes and jobs legally sound and compliant.
Government Inspector Laura Graham has published her final report on the City Plan and concludes that, with the recommended modifications consulted on from 2013 to 2015, it satisfies the legal requirements and complies with national planning policy.
The City Plan is crucial for the city’s future as it sets the strategic development and land-use priorities to 2030. It underpins the city’s future prosperity and provides a blueprint for building much-needed homes and supporting economic growth.
The City Plan provides an important signpost and clear framework for the council to make planning decisions and bring forward development and regeneration in the city.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “A key milestone has been reached with the City Plan Part 1. I am pleased that the Inspector’s report recognises the significant land supply constraints we face in meeting housing needs in full.
“The plan has taken time to develop and we have had some demanding challenges along the way. It is vital we have the right plan in place to make the best use of land, enhance our outstanding natural and built heritage and create the homes and jobs that people need, together with the right infrastructure and community facilities.
“When adopted the City Plan will give communities more certainty about how the city will grow and develop. Not only must we get the right balance but also the agreement of the Planning Inspector so that planning can continue to be influenced locally. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute to the process. They have helped shape the Plan and the future of the city.”
The Inspector concluded that the Plan seeks to balance development needs with preserving the natural and built heritage of the city and its surroundings. She recognised the city acts as an important economic growth hub for the wider region and found the scale and mix of development in eight proposed Development Areas to be appropriate and deliverable.
Brighton & Hove’s housing target is 13,200 new homes to 2030. It does not meet the city’s assessed housing need in full, but the Inspector acknowledged it reflects the city’s significant land constraints.
The Inspector also recognised that the council has been working with neighbouring councils and other organisations to address housing needs.
There is also an identified potential for development on the urban fringe that will strike the right balance between meeting the needs for new housing and retaining open space. The Inspector was satisfied that the council will look at how development could be allocated on individual sites in Part 2 of the City Plan which will go into more detail about housing supply and will involve full public consultation.
The Inspector’s report will be considered by councillors at the Policy & Resources Committee on 17 March and they will decide whether to adopt the Plan at a meeting of the full council on 24 March.
Hard copies are available at Customer Service Centres in Hove Town Hall and Bartholomew House Brighton, and at Hove, Jubilee and Portslade Libraries.
The report is the outcome of the independent Examination of the City Plan Part 1, which included the public hearings in October 2013. The final round of consultation took place last September to November on an amendment to reflect recent changes to national policy on sustainable buildings.
The report concludes that with the recommended main modifications set out in its Appendix, the City Plan Part 1 satisfies the legal requirements and meets national planning policy tests relating to “soundness”.
At this stage of the process it is not legally possible for the council to make further amendments to the Plan. The Plan can only be adopted in accordance with the conclusions of the Inspector’s Report.