Inspector: get Stroud district housing numbers in order

Residents of Hardings Drive in Dursley have campaigned against a large potential housing development there but may face an uphill struggle if the local plan is not approved soon (6799759)

Residents of Hardings Drive in Dursley have campaigned against a large potential housing development there but may face an uphill struggle if the local plan is not approved soon (6799759)

First published in News
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Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A PLANNING inspector has given the district council six months to get its housing figures in order.

The local plan for Stroud District Council (SDC) sets out the strategy for new housing, employment and community development in the district until 2031.

Inspector Stephen Pratt was appointed to determine whether the plan is legally compliant and sound.

Following a public examination in April he has released a report on his findings.

Although he was satisfied that SDC had co-operated with neighbouring councils and other statutory bodies in developing its plan, it had not provided sufficient evidence to support its housing and employment figures.

The draft plan, currently being considered, focuses on encouraging 6,200 new jobs and finding space for 2,450 additional homes up to 2031.

The housing strategy centres on building a few large concentrated developments with associated infrastructure and facilities, rather than relying on numerous small developments dotted around the district.

SDC now has six months to revisit its housing projections using an alternative methodology.

SDC leader, Cllr Geoff Wheeler, said: "The inspector is not happy that our housing projections are sufficiently robust and the underlying message is that we may have to increase the number of homes in our plan."

There was a concern that if the inspector was not satisfied with the housing figures he could impose a 20 percent boost in housing supply.

However Mr Pratt concluded the "evidence does not suggest that there has been a persistent record of under-delivery" and, based on the current proposed housing provision level, there is a case for accepting a five per cent growth, rather than 20 per cent.

The local plan will ensure a guideline for developers to follow when they want to build things in the district but until it is completed the district is less able to defend itself from unpopular developments.

Housing campaign groups such as Don't Strangle Stroud (DSS) have expressed concerns that people could jump to the wrong conclusion that the inspector has said the district needs a much larger housing supply, when it was not the case.

Daniel James from DSS said: "The fact that the inspector has only imposed the five per cent uplift implies he doesn't believe there is a serious shortfall in the council's housing figure projections."

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