The three district councils of North Kesteven, West Lindsey and the City of Lincoln alongside Lincolnshire County Council submitted their draft joint core strategy for examination in October.
Following a pre-hearing meeting last week, the Inspector appointed to carry out the examination wrote (3-page / 202KB PDF) to the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (JSPC) and recommended that the plan be withdrawn.
The Inspector said that, because the councils could only demonstrate a 3.5 year supply of housing land rather than the six years required by the National Planning Policy Framework, including a 20% buffer, the plan would need to be modified to include sufficient housing allocations to cover the period between the Core Strategy and an Allocations Plan due to be adopted in 2016.
The councils had originally asked the Inspector to suspend the examination until September 2014 to enable them to make the necessary modifications. However, the Inspector said that the nature and extent of the modifications required would involve a "fundamental review" of the plan.
He said that the modified plan would be "substantially and significantly" different to the plan the councils had consulted upon prior to the examination and that this would be unfair to those who had "engaged on the basis of the plan as submitted".
"I have therefore concluded that the most appropriate course of action is for the JSPC to withdraw the Core Strategy; to carry out a legally compliant Sustainability Appraisal to inform its decisions on the new Local Plan; to make the modifications and changes necessary to address the plan’s present unsoundness; to provide the evidence necessary to justify those modifications, particularly with regard to infrastructure and viability; to republish the Plan for public consultation; and to submit the revised Plan for a new examination," the Inspector concluded.
The JSPC said at the pre-hearing meeting that it would recommend the plan for withdrawal at a meeting to be held early next month.