Published on Monday, 20th November 2017

 

For whatever reason, the borough of Eastleigh has failed to produce a local development plan in more than a decade of trying. Now it, and 14 other districts across England, face having plans drawn up and imposed on them by government. This will mean no local input into what is one of the most important of local government functions – planning.

 

Happily Portsmouth is not in that position. Its local plan was adopted in 2012 and work to refresh it has already begun. If all goes well, an updated document will be in place by 2019. What Eastleigh does show is the futility of rejecting housing need figures. Most of the places on the intervention list are ones where the local authority has refused to try and meet the target, resulting in an appeal-led planning system and over time in a centrally imposed plan.

 

Portsmouth is a crowded city with little land available. If it submits a plan on time and if that plan is realistic, it is highly likely that the city will not have to meet its need in full. To get to that point though, the council has to try. That is the purpose of the plan to building housing in the city centre where a large number of flats could be built; the student accommodation already in the pipeline will count as equivalent to 1000 flats. The alternative is a government imposed plan, which could well see significant amounts of employment land turned over to housing. So while tempting, just saying that Portsmouth is full up is not a good strategy and would likely result in more housing, not less.

 

Tags : Education