Homes strategy is not doing enough

WILTSHIRE needs 7,000 more homes than a key planning blueprint allows for, according to a Government-appointed inspector.

Wiltshire Council’s Core Strategy, which sets out aims for the county over the next 12 years, was submitted this summer and called for 37,000 new homes to be built.

However, in a letter sent to the council as part of a review of the strategy, planning inspector Andrew Seaman has claimed this will fall short of what is needed.

In it, he said: “A housing figure as low as 37,000 homes over the plan period does not appear justified.”

He added: “My current interpretation of the evidence leads me to find that the objectively assessed housing need... would be in the region of 44,000 homes for the plan period.”

Mr Seaman also says that the requirement for a minimum of 40 per cent affordable homes to be provided on sites of five or more new dwellings is not justified in the evidence and could jeopardise the whole plan.

He said: “The core strategy can reasonably be aspirational but must also be capable of delivery.”

He said he cannot come up with an alternative figure from the evidence and asks the council: “I would appreciate your constructive thoughts on how to progress this matter.”

He said he also wants the council to obtain more reliable information on the provision to be made for travellers.

Toby Sturgis, Cabinet member with responsibility for strategic planning, said the council would consider the inspector’s comments.

He said: “The inspector has highlighted some areas where we need to provide more information. One of these areas is our housing allocation figures, which he believes needs to be higher.

“We will look into this and provide more information.”

See the inspector’s letter at wiltshire.gov.uk/wiltshirecorestrategyexamination.

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