Arun District Council has criticised the Government for ‘hindering’ its efforts to deliver much-needed housing.
The council said it had taken ‘very hard and locally unpopular’ decisions to approve controversial planning applications to reduce a pressing housing shortage.
Yet the council said it was being held back by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which was threatening to call-in numerous plans.
Director for place Karl Roberts, in a letter to Secretary of State Sajid Javid, said: “Yes, the housing market is broken and we are doing all we can in Arun to improve the situation, however all these call-ins are not helping and more so they are actually hindering our efforts.”
Arun’s new local plan has yet to be adopted – and with a land supply shortage it is vulnerable to speculative applications.
Residents have regularly voiced concerns that the situation has seen their neighbourhood plans overturned.
Conflict between government policy and the plans have led to several public inquiries. Mr Javid this month approved plans for 108 homes in Yapton which conflicted with the parish’s neighbourhood plan.
Arun acknowledged the ‘inevitable consequence’ of plans being overruled – but said every inquiry worsened the council’s land supply problem.
A total of 11 plans for between 22 and 400 homes are being monitored by the DCLG and could be called-in, Mr Roberts said.
“In short this is nearly two years’ worth (of our housing needs),” he said.
“Ironically, every time you delay one of our council’s decisions it takes us further away from being able to demonstrate at least a three-year supply of housing, so that the written ministerial statement on the weight to be afforded to neighbourhood plans can bite.
“It also means that the council has to consider approving more speculative applications in the meantime to plug the five-year land supply issue, creating even more conflict with our neighbourhood plans.”
A DCLG spokesman said: “The Department is unable to comment on individual ongoing cases.”