On Tuesday, Luton Council unanimously resolved to adopt its emerging local plan, accepting the recommendations contained in the inspector's report.
The plan and report provide a useful example of how an authority that needs to export a substantial proportion of their objectively assessed housing need can produce a sound plan which is compliant with the Duty to Co-operate, while seeking to preserve appropriate levels of employment land.
The plan will pave the way for various strategic developments over the plan period, as well as dealing with development management issues.
The problem arose because Luton's administrative boundaries are drawn tightly against the edge of the built-up area. The plan identified that Luton had an objectively assessed housing need of 17,800 net additional dwellings for the plan period (2011-2031) but only had capacity to deliver 8,500 within its boundaries, leading to a shortfall of some 9,300 net additional dwellings – the unmet need.
The inspector agreed that the appropriate course was for those requirements to be expressly written into eLP policy, including the level of unmet need. There was, he considered, a real benefit in the "exporting authority" having a plan in place so that the requirements placed on neighbouring authorities within the Housing Market Area could be firmly established.
The relevant policy, LLP2, therefore also spells out the steps the Council envisaged taking under the Duty to Co-operate as the plan moved forward to seek to ensure that the housing requirements of the Housing Market Area were met as a whole, thus complying with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
An electronic version of the plan, notice of adoption, statement of adoption, the inspector's report and the evidence base supporting it can be accessed through the following webpages:
• Notice of Adoption
• Statement of Adoption
• Inspector's report
• Evidence base - main documents
Wayne Beglan acted on behalf of Luton Council.