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Monday, June 17, 2024

Kirklees’ Local Plan review and update could cost upto £2000000

A full review and update of Kirklees Council’s Local Plan could come at a cost of up to £2m if the current plan is deemed unfit for purpose.

The Local Plan was adopted in February 2019 and sets out how much development the council hopes to achieve and where it should take place. With it coming up to five years since the plan was brought in, a review is currently taking place to ensure that it is still suitable.

The review considers whether the Local Plan is meeting its original targets for housing and job creation.

If it is determined that the plan is no longer considered fit for purpose, a further, full review and update may need to take place which could cost up to £2m, according to a report to the meeting of the council’s Growth and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel.

A consideration for the council is that it is falling short of the government-required five-year housing land supply, meaning that it doesn’t have enough sites for housing development to meet housing requirements.

Cllr Moses Crook
Image: Kirklees Council

Chair of the Panel Cllr Moses Crook (Labour, Holme Valley South) wanted to know whether this meant it was a “foregone conclusion” that more extensive, costly work would need to be carried out and if there was any way money could be saved.

On the matter of costs, David Shepherd, said the council would be “as efficient as possible” but that some of the more technical studies that are needed will have to be commissioned. He added: “We will also have to spend money on the consultation process and because we’re undertaking all the stages of consultation, that will cost us more.

“My firm belief though is that that leads to better plan making and that means that whichever administration is taking the decision in terms of the adoption of the outcome of the review, that they can do that with confidence that we’ve been through a robust process and that sets the framework for planning decisions in the future.”

Edward Highfield, Service Director for Skills and Regeneration said the review so far had been “efficient” due to being done in-house but the costs would come if the plan needed a full update. He added: “That’s when you are into the serious sums of money but you can’t cut corners, it has to be done well and it is the basis for hundreds of millions of pounds of investment over the long-term.”

However, Mr Highfield told the meeting that the full review would not put further pressure on the council’s budget as it would be funded using the Leeds City Region business rates pool – a dividend shared by Kirklees and other West Yorkshire councils.

Johanna Scrutton, Planning Policy Team Leader said that the fact the council has fallen below the land supply requirement could be one of the factors that triggers a further review of the plan but that this wasn’t a certainty. She said: “It’s not a foregone conclusion but it’s certainly something we would need to look at.

Cllr David Hall
Image: Kirklees Council

“If we don’t do it through a Local Plan review then we would have to look at some interim position where we look at giving clarity to developers, agents, communities on how we are going to deliver housing land supply in the interim before we get a Local Plan update.”

Some groups within the council had been calling for a review of the Local Plan long before it was announced in August. The Almondbury ward Lib Dems had previously stated that the plan was based on outdated ONS predictions of the population and was proposing around 16,000 homes that weren’t needed.

Leader of the Conservative group, Cllr David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) had also called for a review of the plan at the “earliest opportunity”

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