Independent Planning Inspectors find Bassetlaw Local Plan ‘Sound’

Bassetlaw District Council’s Local Plan is considered to be ‘sound’ but requires some ‘modifications’, according to the independent planning inspectorate following an examination.
Bassetlaw Council. Photo: Mark FearBassetlaw Council. Photo: Mark Fear
Bassetlaw Council. Photo: Mark Fear

This means that the Inspectors agree that the Bassetlaw Local Plan sets out an appropriate way to deliver sustainable housing and employment, supported by new infrastructure, across the district for the next 14 years.

The Local Plan calls for a total of 11,195 homes to be built across the district by 2038. However, because a large number of new homes have either already been built, allocated through other routes such as Neighbourhood Plans or have planning permission, the Local Plan only allocates 2,387 new homes to be built by 2038 – an average of 133 new homes each year.

To support the creation of 9,699 new jobs and housing, the Local Plan requires significant infrastructure benefits across the district with land and financial contributions set aside for two new schools, health services, five trees for every new house, new parks and open spaces, transport improvements including road junctions and financial contributions to support Bassetlaw Hospital.

The Bassetlaw Local Plan also deals with several other matters such as Climate Change, by providing additional tree planting, the provision of open spaces and promotion of sustainable travel and cycle routes; Biodiversity, by ensuring wildlife is not negatively affected and enhanced in some areas; and manage and reduce the flood risk across all developments with sustainable drainage.

Councillor Julie Leigh said: “Having a Local Plan means that we can put an end to speculative development in Bassetlaw, plan properly for new housing and employment across the district and crucially, help ensure that vital infrastructure is provided alongside new building. This includes land and funding allocated for new school facilities in Retford and Worksop, junction improvements across Bassetlaw, and funding for Health Facilities.”

Read More
Bassetlaw Council 'forced' to impose maximum council tax rise for the coming yea...

The Council has taken the decision not to ask for Community Infrastructure Levy funding from large Local Plan sites including Peaks Hill Farm, Ordsall South and Trinity Farm. This is because CIL monies are not tied to specific areas and can be spent anywhere in the district.

Instead, the Council has chosen to ask developers to fund the necessary infrastructure for these sites through Section 106 Agreements. This means that the Council can ensure that money provided by developers is used in the areas where development takes place.

By taking this decision, the Council also demonstrates a funding gap of £9.5million, which is the difference between the total known cost of the infrastructure set out in the plan and the amount that will be raised from developer contributions. The Council will be able to access Community Infrastructure Levy monies, which could raise up to an additional £10.8million.

The Planning Inspector’s report states that: “although there is a funding gap, there is also a reasonable prospect of the gap being bridged. We, therefore, conclude that the existence of an infrastructure funding gap is not a reason to find the Plan unsound.”

Now that the independent Planning Inspectors have found the Local Plan ‘sound’ with the Main Modifications, this is the end of the examination process. The next step is to take the Local Plan to Full Council for formal adoption later in the year.