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Fenland's housing supply restored

Fenland planning policies can once again be afforded full weight in decision making following the restoration of Fenland District Council's five year housing land supply.

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The latest assessment of the authority's land supply shows it now stands at 5.86 years, up from 4.93 years in October last year when a Planning Inspector upheld an appeal for six dwellings in Christchurch on the basis that the Council did not have a five year supply.

Without being able to demonstrate the minimum five year supply of deliverable housing sites required by Government, the Council had to default to guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) when determining planning applications.

Now that the benchmark has been restored, the Council can revert back to area-specific policies within the Fenland Local Plan (FLP).

All FLP policies have come back into force, with the exception of the affordable housing policy. Since the Christchurch appeal, the Council can no longer seek affordable housing contributions on sites of 10 dwellings or less.

The Council had enforced a Local Plan policy of asking for affordable housing on five to nine dwellings due to the significant need for affordable housing across the district. But the Planning Inspector said the policy made such smaller sites uneconomic to develop and ruled that the Council should bring its affordable housing policy in line with Government guidance.

Councillor Dee Laws, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Planning, said: "I'm very pleased that our five year land supply has been restored which is thanks to the hard work of Planning Officers and Committee Members to ensure that planning proposals that meet with relevant policies are approved.

"The council remains committed to sustainable growth through its Local Plan and having an up-to-date supply of housing sites ready to develop puts us is a stronger position to deliver housing for Fenland."

Article added: May 1, 2018