A series of hearings into Wrexham Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) have been suspended after inspectors raised significant concerns over an apparent lack of provision for new houses within the plan.
The plan sets out proposals for the use and development of land in Wrexham up until 2021 and includes plans for the provision of homes, affordable housing, employment, traveller sites and retail development.
The LDP had been through the public consultation stage and was being looked over by the Welsh Government and Planning Inspectorate.
However, inspectors took the decision to suspend their hearings after finding “potentially significant concerns” with the council’s plans for housing provision.
Lawrence Isted, Head of Community Wellbeing and Development for Wrexham Council explained: “Six sessions were held dealing with housing issues, including proposed overall housing numbers, affordable housing targets and gypsy and travellers policy, and further sessions were earmarked throughout February to consider other issues including employment, minerals and waste policies and the development of individual sites.”
“However, on Tuesday the inspector announced that in the light of his concerns relating to the plan, primarily what is felt to be an under-provision of new housing, he has decided that it is necessary to suspend the remaining hearing sessions (7-17) pending an Exploratory Meeting with the council.”
In November 2011 the inspectorate also raised concerns over the council’s plans for retail, particularly regarding whether the authority had planned adequate provision for retail development over the plan period and whether the plan’s approach to retail development was supported by a robust and credible base.
Following the suspension the inspector will issue a note on his main concerns next week to enable the council to provide its considered response at the exploratory meeting.
The purpose of the meeting, which is due to take place at 9.30am on Thursday 23rd February in the Council Chamber at the Guildhall, will be to consider the most appropriate way forward for the examination.
Wrexham Council said it intends to consider its response to the inspector’s concerns at the Executive Board meeting on 21st February.
For the latest information and any further updates visit the LDP website at http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/planning_portal/plan_policy/independent_examination/index.htm