PREDATORY developers looking to build in the Cotswolds may be forced to go elsewhere now that the district council is up to speed with its five year land supply.
Latest figures show that Cotswold District Council has now identified a sufficient number of sites to provide the district with its necessary housing requirements until 2019.
The authority has stated that it has now earmarked enough land to deliver the amount of housing required with enough left over for 359 surplus units.
Recently, CDC’s lack of an up-to-date five year land supply has left the Cotswolds open to developers with many rejected planning applications being allowed on appeal.
Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown welcomed the news saying it will give power to CDC’s planning committee.
“CDC will have the full ability to decide on planning applications and refuse them where necessary, purely on planning merit,” he said.
“Members will not have to worry whether their decisions will be overturned at appeal purely on the grounds that they had not met their five year land supply.”
The district’s planning issues made national headlines last year when a High Court judge overturned CDC’s decision to reject an application for 300 homes on green land in Tetbury.
During last November’s hearing, the district council was described as a “persistent under deliverer of housing”.
Lynda Morgan, who has been fighting excessive developments in Tetbury with action group STEPS, said CDC’s five year land supply had been a real bugbear in the town.
“This is very good news for the district as a whole and I am thankful that communities like ours are now protected,” she said.
“In Tetbury we’ve had over 700 houses permitted recently which is more than the 650 we need. This news is amazing as we still have a number of applications pending.”
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Lib Dem opposition on CDC, said that while the news is welcome, CDC must join the 50 per cent of councils with an up-to-date Local Plan.
“It is shameful that this council doesn’t have one. Until a Local Plan is in place, the developers will hold all the cards,” he said.
A Local Plan sets out the rules for how an area should develop over a period of time and, in most cases, should be consulted when planning decisions are made.
CDC leader Cllr Lynden Stowe told the Standard that his Lib Dem counterpart is wrong and that there is only one council in the country with a full Local Plan.
He said: “What is important is that CDC has a process in place that listens to our communities and builds a comprehensive Local Plan around those views. We need to take our time to get it right.”
News about the Cotswolds’ land supply figures coincided with the visit of planning minister Nick Boles MP to the CDC offices in Cirencester last week.
He met with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Cllr Stowe to discuss how the district had been impacted by national planning regulations.