Housing numbers uncertainty increases planners' workload

Written by: Colin Marrs
Published on: 9 Oct 2015

Faversham creek - Flickr copyright

A dispute over the status of housing numbers in a council’s local plan has led to a surge in planning applications for major housing schemes.

Swale Borough Council in Kent is currently in negotiations with a planning inspector over the need to find more sites in its local plan to meet housing need.

The uncertainty has led to an increase in the number of major developments being submitted to the council, resulting in the planning department seeking a new staff member.

James Freeman, head of planning at the council, told Planning: “Our local plan is about to go for inspection and the inspector has already indicated that we may have to find more sites to meet a higher target.

“While some of the major housing schemes we are dealing are on land that is allocated, some of the others have constraints – we have recently refused two in that situation.”

In addition, he said that the council was still recovering from a backlog of cases which resulted from the introduction of a new ICT system introduced as part of a shared services arrangement with Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone borough councils.

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Image of Faversham Creek in Swale by Gareth Williams, Flickr