Bassetlaw Local Plan: Row over level of housing required continues as Government minister says council has followed correct guidance

The row over the amount of housing needed to be built across Bassetlaw over the next 15 years has taken another twist.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 9:44 am

Bassetlaw District Council has received a letter from the housing minister stating that it followed the correct guidance when setting the total number of new houses in the Bassetlaw Local Plan.

He asked the PM to confirm that the minimum housing requirement for Bassetlaw is 4,896 and “not the 10,000 claimed by the Labour-run council?”

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith addressing Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions last month.

Mr Johnson confirmed the number of 4,896 was correct, and added that the government does not set local housing targets.

The Bassetlaw Local Plan proposes 10,047 new builds in the district between 2020-2037.

Some residents are angry at the level of homes earmarked for certain areas, including those in Thievesdale where 1,000 houses are proposed, and then an additional 120 after 2037.

A letter from housing minister, Christopher Pincher, states that the minimum housing figure is only the starting point when planning for the right number of homes and is not the housing target.

It states: “Housing requirements are decided by local authorities when they write their local plans, and they take account of factors such as economic growth strategies, which might indicate a higher number of homes are needed; constraints which are faced locally, such as the Green Belt; and co-operation with neighbours, to see if needs are best met elsewhere.”

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It adds that guidance “is clear that there will be circumstances where it is appropriate to consider whether actual housing need is higher than the standard method indicates.”

Cabinet member for regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council, councillor Jo White said: “The housing minister’s letter clearly shows that the council’s approach to the local plan is in line with Government guidance and policy.

“It’s very disappointing that our local MP has confused not only the public, but also it would appear the Prime Minister on this matter.

"Not only has the MP muddled how housing figures are determined, but on many occasions he has publicly supported new employment development in the district when he knows that this is one of the main factors that drives housing growth under his own Government’s planning policies.”

She said it was “disappointing” that Mr Clarke-Smith had not formally responded to the local plan consultation.

Coun White added: “We have said all along that it is for the independent planning inspectorate to determine whether or not our numbers are correct, and this will happen at the examination stage of the local plan process.

"If it’s determined that the calculations are wrong, we will quickly work to make appropriate amendments.”

Mr Clarke-Smith said: “I am pleased the minister has confirmed that there has been no such requirement from government for 10,000 homes to be built in Bassetlaw and that this figure is instead based on the economic growth projections made by Bassetlaw District Council.

"I am sure constituents will be delighted that the council has now agreed to amend this figure should the independent planning inspectorate deem it to be over intensive, especially with regards to the proposed developments in Ordsall and Thievesdale.”