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Melton draft Core Strategy unsound, says inspector

An inspector has found that Melton Borough Council's draft Core Strategy is unsound following a public examination.16 Apr 2013

The inspector said in a letter to the Council (7-page / 112KB PDF) outlining his preliminary conclusions that he considered the plan to be unsound and recommended that the Council should consider withdrawing the plan. 

"From all the evidence submitted and including various site visits, I consider that there are matters of fundamental concern with the Melton Core Strategy which cannot be overcome through changes," the inspector said. 

The inspector said that the plan was not based on a strategy which sought to meet the objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements of the area as required by the National Planning Policy Framework. 

"The Core Strategy significantly underestimates the full objectively assessed housing needs for the area and that provision should be increased to 200 dwellings per year to provide some 4,000 homes over the period to 2026," he said. 

The inspector also said that the plan's proposals for a strategic urban extension (SUE) to the north of Melton was not sustainable as it would have an "unacceptable impact on the landscape, agricultural land and biodiversity". He said that the timescale for delivery of the SUE was "unrealistic" and that the Council had not undertaken detailed analysis of the viability of the scheme. 

"Given the totality of the further work required including revision of the evidence base, the review of housing and employment growth options, further transport modelling, sustainability appraisals, viability work on selected sites, a completely new implementation programme and at least two rounds of public consultation, I consider that the changes required are so significant that I am unable to deal with the matter through modifications and that the best course of action is for the Council to consider withdrawing the plan," the inspector concluded. 

The Council said in a statement that it had noted the contents of the inspector's letter and that it would consider a motion on the matter at an extraordinary council meeting.