Planning free for all in Suffolk Coastal´╗┐

Suffolk Coastal residents are facing a planning free for all after the council failed to adequately assess the need for housing in the district, leading to an adverse decision by the planning inspectorate.

The decision, in Framlingham, says that Suffolk Coastal had no reasonable explanation for failing to publish an up to date assessment of the number of homes needed for the next five years, and therefore the planning inspector found that the council’s ability to supply enough developable land for sufficient housing was unsound. 

National planning policy requires councils to show this supply, and where they can’t any policies which seek to restrict development are given less weight in the decision making process. Another case in Suffolk Coastal, which the council is now taking to the Supreme Court, expanded the list of policies which seek to restrict development beyond merely housing policies in the council’s Local Development Framework, to include any policy which could restrict development.

Tony Fryatt, who is the Cabinet Member for Planning on the east coast authority, told the BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast programme that he wasn’t worried by the decision, as the world has changed and thousands more houses would now be needed by East Anglian devolution. While that may be true, it actually makes the situation worse, not better, and his laissez faire attitude leaves Suffolk Coastal communities completely unprotected from inappropriate development.