Burnley Borough Council chiefs have defiantly said they will not reduce the number of houses planned to be built in the town, despite a new Government formula which will see neighbouring authorities scale down their plans.
The council will press ahead with its Local Plan which has identified sites for 2,483 new houses to be built over the coming years, which officials believe is “needed to support the ongoing jobs growth in the borough.”
Neighbouring Ribble Valley and Rossendale Councils have recently announced that their own projected numbers for house building will be reduced as the Government’s new proposals in general terms reduces the number of new homes required in the north and increases numbers in the south.
Under the proposals, Burnley would need to build 70 new homes a year instead of 124, but because the council’s Local Plan has now been submitted, the council can still press ahead with its original figure.
A Burnley Council spokesman said: “The way that the consultation is drafted makes it clear that it would not affect our Local Plan which has already been submitted for examination.
“The consultation document is clear that the Government doesn’t intend to prevent local authorities going above the projected figure, for example, to support employment growth, as long as the approach can be justified.
“Burnley Council’s position is that we need more housing to support the ongoing jobs growth in the borough and a growing population.”
The government consultation states: “We want to make sure that we give proper support to those ambitious authorities who want to deliver more homes.
“To facilitate this we propose to amend planning guidance so that where a plan is based on an assessment of local housing need in excess of that which the standard method would provide, planning inspectors are advised to work on the assumption that the approach adopted is sound unless there are compelling reasons to indicate otherwise.
“If a local plan is currently at examination or will be submitted for examination on or before March 31st 2018 or before the revised Framework is published (whichever is later), it should continue to be examined and rely on evidence prepared using the current method.
As Burnley’s Local Plan has already been submitted, the examination will proceed on the basis of the current method and not the new method, council chiefs have said.
Burnley’s Local Plan – a vast policy document which sets out where thousands of new homes, industrial sites and traveller provision are to be built in the borough – was given the green light following a lively debate between councillors and members of the public at Burnley Town Hall in March.