Barnsley adopts core strategy document

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council has adopted its key core strategy planning document after having to make a number of changes including adding a target for affordable homes.

The document, which outlines planning policy for the future development of the area to 2026, was approved by inspector Robin Brooks.

But the South Yorkshire council has had to make amendments to make the policy sound. This includes more detail on the area's housing requirements and adding an affordable housing target to make it comply with the national housing planning policy document PPS3.

The council did not put in an overall target for affordable housing because it claimed it could rapidly become out of date. Instead it wanted information on areas and types of need to be included in a supplementary planning document where it could be more readily updated.

But the inspector ruled that this would be counter to national guidance and fail to give strategic direction.

In response the council has revised the strategy to state a need for 597 affordable homes per year, based on its Strategic Housing Market Assessment and a target for 18 per cent of the housing over the plan period to be affordable, equivalent to some 2,780 homes.

Brooks said he was far from satisfied by the approach because the need figure is based on analysis that only extends to 2011/12 while the delivery figure depends heavily on work on site viability rather than assessment of housing need.
But he judged that there is an urgent need to make progress from the current policy in the unitary development plan, which is 11 years old, and approved the policy stressing the need for regular review.

A total of 21,500 homes are proposed for the whole area up to 2026. The strategy identifies the urban area of Barnsley as the main focus for development, with 9,800 homes planned for the area over the plan period, almost half the total requirement.

The remainder of the proposed housing will be distributed across the borough's principal towns including 3,000 new homes for Goldthorpe, 2,000 for Wombwell and 1,800 for both Cudworth and Hoyland.

The council's cabinet spokesman for development, environment and culture Tim Cheetham said: "The adoption of the core strategy represents the culmination of a number of years' work and extensive public consultation.

"It sets out the important key elements of the planning and transportation framework for the future development of the borough. Barnsley joins only one third of local planning authorities in the country to have an adopted core strategy."

The Barnsley core strategy can be read here.

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