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Chief executive warns council members of Government intervention following rejection of local plan

Castle Point Borough Council is at risk of Government intervention after the local authority voted to abandon a local plan at least four years in the making, according to the council's chief executive.

Rob Tinlin, Castle Point’s chief executive and section 151 officer, told the council that its recent decision not to adopt the plan "puts the council back to where it was in 2017/2018" when the Secretary of State notified it that it would intervene unless it made progress towards adopting a local plan.

The local authority is now set to vote on a motion calling for a brand new local plan that will focus on protecting green belt land, prioritise brownfield developments and reduce the number of proposed houses in the area.

The council’s local plan has been a point of contention since 2018 after the Government formally notified it that it was considering intervention over its lack of a local plan. The intervention notice implied that the Government would appoint another body to prepare a new local plan, but the council avoided full intervention by progressing the local plan.

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In October 2019, the council submitted a plan for examination to the planning inspectorate, and in September 2021, a planning inspector concluded that with some modification, it would be likely to be found compliant.

However, in March of this year, the council voted not to adopt the plan over concerns about it allowing development on green belt land.

Next week (15 June), the council will consider a motion that calls upon the council to start work immediately on a new local plan "that reflects the central government stated aim to protect and preserve the precious green belt in our local area".

The motion says that a priority of the new local plan should produce a target housing number "that genuinely reflects local need" and that will be lower than previous proposals.

"All housing developments should prioritise brownfield development. We hope that in the interests of our borough this motion is supported on a cross party basis," the motion adds.

Adam Carey

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