Re-think may mean extra homes

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 13 December 2013 Updated: 13/12 16:53

EXTRA homes may have to be built in Redditch after evidence used to plan the future of the borough was called into question.

Council officers are now having to reconsider how many houses are needed in the borough before 2030 after neighbouring authorities' plans were turned down by the Planning Inspectorate.

Redditch's Local Plan was due to be submitted by December 31 and proposed 3,000 homes in the borough and 3,400 over the border in Bromsgrove. But this has now been delayed while the borough council investigates the figures in the Worcestershire Strategic Housing Market Assessment which is referenced in the plan.

The South Worcestershire Development Plan, which had already been handed in and also made use of the SHMA, was returned following an initial assessment by the Planning Inspectorate.

Inspector Roger Clews said there was a problem with the household statistics used, which were drawn from council tax figures - where one property can have more than one household contained within it - not the census, as well as 2009 job growth figures which contradict most other estimations made more recently and a lack of convincing evidence to support the assumed increases in older people’s economic participation rates.

Coun Greg Chance, responsible for planning on Redditch Borough Council, said: "Throughout the plan-making process we have ensured that the Local Plan is evidence-based, to give it the best possible chance of being found sound by the Planning Inspectorate.

"Events in the south of the county have suggested that to ensure our evidence is robust enough for the inspector, we should carry out some additional work before we submit the plan.

"We will be sure to keep everyone informed of progress on this. Of course if the evidence shows any significant changes then we will have to look at the Local Plan again."

Once the evidence is looked at, unless there is a significant change to requirements - in which case residents would need to be consulted again, the council will be able to submit the plan to the inspector immediately.

A spokesman said as it was not yet known whether the figures would be higher once the extra work had been done, it was too early in the process for the council to have identified any sites needed to potentially accommodate any extra housing.

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