The housing targets in the District Council’s Local Plan Review, now out for public consultation, are throughout referred to as “minimums”.
This will surely encourage developers to submit plans for greater housing numbers than they might otherwise have done.
In common use, to set a target as a minimum is usually to suggest that as high a figure as possible is desirable; for example a sales target.
I would accept that the housing allocations in the draft Local Plan are not maximums but, by the same token, they are not minimums either: they are “indicative allocations”.
The reason given for the use of the word “minimum” is that it would make it easier to get the plan through the government appointed planning inspector.
However, the current Local Plan was approved and adopted without describing the housing allocations as minimums.
The planners at the District Council should have confidence in their Plan and not concede the real possibility of greater housing numbers than they would consider desirable.
Indeed, the total housing numbers in the Plan have been imposed by central government and are already greater than the district
can reasonably bear, particularly on environmental grounds.
The planners at the Council would concede this.
If you care about the beauty of the area we live in, particularly its natural habitat, and are concerned about matters such as extra traffic and air pollution, then I would urge you to respond to the public consultation or contact your district councillor and complain about this misuse of the concept of a minimum.
It is a needless concession. Words matter.
Robert Carey, Parish Councillor on behalf of Earnley Parish Council, Bookers Lane, Earnley