Inspector backs Coventry green belt release plans

A planning inspector has backed Coventry City Council's plans to build around 7,000 homes on the green belt, finding that the scale of potentially unmet need in the second fastest growing city in England outside of London is 'exceptional'.

Coventry: local plan approved by inspector (picture: Ian, Flickr)
Coventry: local plan approved by inspector (picture: Ian, Flickr)

In a report published this week, inspector Rebecca Phillips found that the council’s local plan provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the city, provided that a number of main modifications are made to it.

According to the inspector’s report, Coventry’s full objectively assessed need over the plan period is identified as 42,400 homes, or 2,120 dwellings per annum.

It says that the local plan includes a target of 24,600 homes, which represents 58 per cent of the authority’s objectively assessed need. Main modifications published alongside the inspector’s report would bring the plan’s total housing land supply to around 25,372 dwellings.

Phillips’ report said that the plan’s identified housing land supply "will clearly not meet" the city’s objectively assessed need.

But the inspector added: "Meeting all of the growth within Coventry would remove the Meriden Gap as far as it relates to Coventry’s boundary and erode sensitive landscapes and areas of historic significance as well as potentially leading to a high degree of uncontrolled growth and urban sprawl."

The report added that there would be "significant infrastructure investment implications" associated with meeting the total level of growth anticipated.

The inspector’s report backs the council’s plans to release several parcels of green belt to provide in the region of 7,000 homes, saying that this would make a "very substantial contribution" to meeting the city’s housing shortfall.

The report says that the scale of potentially unmet need in the city is "exceptional". "Even with the release of green belt and greenfield sites, the plan will leave a shortfall of nearly 18,000 dwellings that will need to be met elsewhere in the wider housing market area," the report says.

The inspector concluded that, subject to main modifications, the plan complies with national planning policy in its approach to the green belt.

The inspector’s report is available here.

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