West Midlands councils pause work on joint local plan over standard method uncertainty

Two West Midlands councils have paused work on their joint local plan because they say it is 'not possible to determine' the document's housing need figure until the government's consultation on the revised standard method is completed.

Stoke-on-Trent: work on joint local plan paused
Stoke-on-Trent: work on joint local plan paused

In a statement this week, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council said that work on their joint local plan has been "put on hold to consider the publication of the new revised National Planning Policy Framework and changes to the new government standard methodology for assessing housing need".

The statement said the two councils were due to start a further round of consultation on a draft plan in the coming weeks but the government’s decision to re-consult on the NPPF’s standard method meant it was "not possible to determine the housing need figure until this is completed".

The consultation on the new standard method formula, which was announced on Friday, is not due to be completed until 7 December 2018.

A report, due to be discussed at Stoke-on-Trent Council’s planning committee next week, says the new timetable envisages submission of the draft plan to the secretary of state "in late 2020 rather than spring 2020".

The statement from the two councils said: "In order to assure the joint local plan is sound and robust, further work now needs to be undertaken.

"It is vital that we consider the housing need and supply issues in light of the policy changes before confirming proposed sites in the city and borough".

Last week, an Essex council wrote to the government urging it to "act swiftly and decisively" to provide "clarity" on revisions to its standard method for calculating housing need.

Earlier in the monthFareham Borough Council announced that it will "tear up" its draft local plan and start again due to a 30 per cent increase in homes required by the government's new standard method for calculating housing need.

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