Government intervenes to prevent withdrawal of Local Plan Review
Council had proposed withdrawal due to concerns about development on green spaces
Plans to withdraw the Local Plan for West Berkshire have been blocked after an intervention by the Government.
West Berkshire Council had published a proposal to withdraw the Local Plan ahead of it going to Public Examination and subsequent adoption. The objective was to create a new plan which meets the aspirations of the new administration to put the environment front and centre, while prioritising new homes and employment spaces within existing town and village boundaries.
The Minister of State for Housing, Planning and Building Safety, Lee Rowley MP, has today written to West Berkshire Council to instruct the Council to progress with the Examination of the Local Plan, which was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in March 2023. The letter warns that further action will be taken unless the Council agrees to halt its current path.
The letter cited powers the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities can exert under Section 27 of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act.
"It is bitterly disappointing that central Government has intervened to prevent the council from withdrawing this flawed Local Plan, which doesn't provide for the future of our villages and leaves our towns overburdened with little infrastructure gain. A fresh start for the plan would allow the council to address the concerns raised by our residents to the plan. It means that the course for future development in West Berkshire will be determined by Westminster and not by us. Local decisions should be made by local people, and we want our communities to feel that they have a strong voice on what happens in their district."
The Council will now take legal advice and consider its response to the letter.