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Clark intervenes over Essex local plan

Published: Thursday, 11th June 2015

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has intervened over the fate of Maldon district council’s emerging local plan and directed that it is submitted to him for approval.

This move came three weeks after David Vickery, the inspector examining the plan, said it was unsound because it failed to make adequate provision for traveller sites.

At the time the Essex local authority said it was “shocked and extremely concerned” about the implications of the inspector’s ‘interim findings’. The council had suggested it should produce a separate plan to deal with the traveller issues. This course of action was rejected by the inspector.

Maldon formally requested intervention by Clark last month as well as considering a legal challenge over the inspector’s stance.

Clark said his action would test “whether the planning inspector has taken a proportionate and balanced view on the local plan as a whole in the light of national planning policy”.

The Secretary of State added: “The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that local plans should be positively prepared, justified, effective, consistent with national policy, and based on proportionate evidence.”

In a separate but related development, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) confirmed that Vickery has announced his intention of retiring and is currently working through his three-month notice period. His decision to leave PINS predates Clark’s decision to intervene over the Maldon local plan.

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Roger Milne