Minister to review housing decision


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AN INSPECTOR’S decision that almost 21,000 homes are needed in North Somerset will be reviewed after a landmark move by Eric Pickles.

For the first time, the Communities and Local Government Secretary has confirmed he will intervene and look at the planning decision following concern from politicians and councillors.

Planning inspector Roland Punshon analysed North Somerset Council’s core strategy, because its revised plans to build 17,000 homes between 2006-2026 was deemed insufficient. He ruled 20,985 homes were needed.

But the decision sparked outrage with prospective parliamentary candidates Dr Liam Fox and John Penrose joining North Somerset Council in asking the Government to intervene.

David Turner, North Somerset’s director of development said: “We have been working hard with the planning inspectorate to reach a deliverable approach to balancing future housing needs while respecting the considerable environmental constraints, including greenbelt, that define our area.

“It is gratifying the Secretary of State acknowledges the unique set of circumstances that have prevented us from having an adopted plan, and that he considers it necessary to review the inspector’s conclusions.”

Mr Pickles’ decision to review the housing requirement for North Somerset does not guarantee the 20,985-home figure will be changed.

He said: “I wish to review and consider the inspector’s conclusions on the housing requirement to ensure national policy has been applied and reflected correctly.

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“I wish to ensure there is maximum clarity for the community on the outcome of the examination.”