The inspector appointed to examine the plan said in a letter to the Council that, although its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which dated from 2008, "may well be proportionate in terms of its breadth and depth", it was not up date.
"The passage of time has a bearing on how reliable data is and the robustness of the projections, studies and assessments using that data," the inspector said. He said that the SHMA did not provide "an adequate basis on which to objectively assess the housing need of the Borough" as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.
The inspector said that he was pleased to see that the Council is preparing a new joint SHMA with neighbouring Councils, however, he said he was "concerned regarding the timetable for this work".
"The updated SHMA may show that the Core Strategy meets the needs of the Borough and it may not, leading to a need to revise the plan. Further, there is no indication of when this assessment will be completed," he said.
The inspector noted that the Stage 1 joint SHMA was due for preparation in January 2014 and that there was no timetable for the Stage 2 SHMA. He said that Planning Inspectorate guidance advised against suspensions longer than six months. "In light of this, I urge you to consider the withdrawal of the Core Strategy," he said.