Thursday, 13 February 2014

Winslow plan

Localism threatened as Gladman delays Winslow neighbourhood plan

Last Sunday, I wrote that the withdrawal of the Vale of Aylesbury Plan would threaten the neighbourhood plan for Winslow. I am unhappy to report that the examination of the neighbourhood plan, which was due tomorrow, has now been delayed after a legal objection from Gladman Developments.

Gladman hopes to build housing west and south of Winslow in conflict with the emerging neighbourhood plan and against the failed Vale of Aylesbury Plan. Planning magazine (subscription required) quotes Gladman’s lawyers:

“In view of the fact that the neighbourhood plan in this case expressly gives effect to the housing numbers in the emerging local plan, and that those numbers have been declared unsound, the sensible course of action for Winslow Town Council would be not to submit the plan to the local planning authority.”

The legal argument by Gladman is that neighbourhood plans must find room for at least the level of housing set out in the local plan. If the local plan is out of date – which is the legal position in Aylesbury Vale – then Gladman says that neighbourhood plans cannot proceed. It cites an existing legal challenge by housing developers to the Tattenhall neighbourhood plan in support of its case. Gladman is asking for the Tattenhall to go through the courts before the Winslow neighbourhood plan is examined.

Aylesbury Vale council rejects Gladman’s position: “There is no statutory obligation for there to be an up to date set of strategic policies in place in order for a neighbourhood plan to progress to examination.”

However, the Winslow neighbourhood plan examiner has sided with Gladman saying the delay is “sensible.”

The neighbourhood plan is now delayed indefinitely until the Tattenhall legal challenge ends. That could be quite a while if the case drags on to the Supreme Court.

Gladman has not appealed the successive rejections of its attempts to get planning permission for unplanned development around Winslow. It will be no surprise if now does so. It can also be can also be expected to mount a legal challenge if the courts eventually back the wishes of the local community at Tattenhall.

That means that all the work Winslow’s neighbourhood plan, which in my view has achieved a sensible balance between housing and employment growth, in under threat.

Winslow is set to be one of the biggest tests to the reality of localism under the National Planning Policy Framework. 

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