Bassetlaw council fears Government may intervene over delays to Local Plan

A housing development being constructed in Gedling.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans outlining where houses and businesses can be built in Bassetlaw could be delayed after opposition councillors triggered an extraordinary meeting to debate the proposals.

Now the district council leader has warned Government Ministers could step in if the authority does not meet its deadlines for the Local Plan.

Labour-controlled Bassetlaw District Council had planned a separate cabinet meeting next week, moving the document into its final phase of consultation.

The meeting, on August 31, would have given the go-ahead for plans to go back to the public for its assessment of the completed, long-term plan for Bassetlaw.

However, opposition councillors have hit out at the administration, triggering the special meeting this week to pause progress in favour of more scrutiny.

They want to set up a cross-party panel, reviewing the plan in its entirety and assessing the amount of housing being proposed.

This, the council’s leader says, is slightly less than 10,000 homes.

Councillor John Ogle (Con) who represents East Markham, said: “The existing administration was intending not to have a debating council about the local plan, and we found that unacceptable.

“It needs to go through the council. As opposition councillors, we need an opportunity to discuss this.

“Bassetlaw as a rural area cannot take the massive number of houses they are talking about.

“The opposition is not happy about the way this plan is going and things need to be made more transparent.”

Once published, the local plan will outline areas for development across the district, both for housing and commercial properties.

The draft document has already been put forward for public scrutiny in the past, with the latest stage a review of the final document due to be submitted to the Government.

But Cllr Simon Greaves (Lab), leader of the council, has warned of the consequences to the district if the plan does not stay on track.

He said: “The idea there hasn’t been an opportunity to come together and shape this plan is quite ridiculous.

“It’s really bizarre that, whilst the Secretary of State is pushing the publication of local plans and is being highly critical delays, the opposition wants to delay.

“The reality is there are consequences of a delay, which ultimately can include Government intervention and imposing a plan upon the area.

“All the work we’ve put in could be gone if there is a delay to the adoption of the plan.”

The Government has, in the past, warned local councils of intervention if their local plans are not published on time.

Mansfield District Council received a similar warning in 2018, before going on to publish its document.

The extraordinary full council meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday (August 26) at Retford Town Hall.

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