Campaign to Protect Rural England asks Warwick District Council to move Local Plan examination session dates

The Local Plan
The Local Plan
  • The Campaign to Protect Rural England has criticised the timing of a number of hearings which will play an important part in determining future housing numbers and land use for Warwick district
  • The Local Plan Examination Initial Sessions will take place on and around the time of the general and council elections and VE Day 70 commemorative events
  • The council has said this is due to the availability of the inspector

Campaigners have criticised the timing of a number of hearings which will play an important part in determining future housing numbers and land use for Warwick district.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has written to Warwick District Council’s deputy leader Cllr Les Caborn asking for the timetable for Local Plan Examination Initial Sessions - due to take place between Wednesday May 6 and Friday May 8 and then Monday May 11 and Tuesday May 12 - to be held at later dates.

This is not a satisfactory way to treat the democratic process

Mark Sullivan

It is concerned the forthcoming general and council elections and the VE Day 70th Anniversary commemorations on May 7 and 8 will detract from the focus on the examination sessions.

Mark Sullivan, technical secretary for the CPRE, said: “It is wrong to hold a public examination on a key matter, the housing requirement and land availability for Warwick district, on these days.

“These sessions are of great importance because they will determine the future housing numbers in the district.

“Sitting on election day prevents councillors or candidates taking part or even attending.

“We are not aware of any public inquiry ever taking place on election day or the next day when the counts take place.”

“It seems the council’s officers wish the sessions to take place before any new councillors are elected. Otherwise there is no obvious reason for not holding them the following week. This is not a satisfactory way to treat the democratic process.”

Like his fellow council members Cllr Caborn, who is responsible for policy on strategic leadership, said he is unable to comment on political issues in the run-up to the election.

But a spokesman for the authority said: “Progressing the Local Plan is a major priority for the council. The consequences of not progressing it could be very significantly adverse for this authority and the communities it represents.

“The inquiry is in two parts, the first in May and the second - should the council get there - in September/October.

“Due to the availability of the inspector, together with trying to progress the Local Plan, the council has had to accept that meeting in early May is, despite its limitations, better than the other option, which would have been to wait for several more months. This would then have knocked back the second part of the inquiry until even later.”