Published: Tuesday, 28th January 2020
Sevenoaks District Council’s Leader has written to the Minister for Local Government with his concerns about the Local Plan examination.
Cllr Peter Fleming wrote to the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, last week (21 January 2020). In the letter, Cllr Fleming challenged the Planning Inspector's conclusion that the Council had failed to work with its neighbours to find sites for new homes that, due to constraints such as the Green Belt, could not be delivered in the Sevenoaks District.
In October the Planning Inspector, Karen Baker, cancelled the Council's Local Plan hearings after two weeks due to a perceived lack of constructive engagement with neighbouring authorities to resolve the unmet housing need in its draft Local Plan.
However, before and during the examination, the Council provided the Planning Inspector with evidence it had worked closely with neighbouring councils since starting work on the new plan in 2015.
Despite pressure from Planning Inspector, the Council has vowed not to withdraw the draft Local Plan.
Cllr Peter Fleming says: "We are not an anti-development Council. In our draft Local Plan we have brought forward innovative solutions to deliver new homes in the District, which will stall if the Inspector’s misguided conclusions are implemented. This cannot be right.
Cllr Fleming adds: "Bringing this issue to the attention of the Minister now is the right thing to do. We have asked to meet with him at his earliest convenience to discuss the points raised in our letter."
Sevenoaks District Council is waiting to hear from the Planning Inspector about her next steps for the Local Plan examination.
Residents can view the Council’s latest letter at www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/localplannews.