Maldon District Council’s Local Development Plan is found unsound

After a lengthy 13 month examination process, Maldon District Council’s Local Plan has been found unsound by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Inspector in charge of proceedings described the examinations for the Plan as: “one of the most complex, if not the most complex, examinations that I have undertaken.”

The plan was found unsound on the basis that the ongoing problems surrounding policy H6 (Provision for Travellers) could not be rectified and could not be addressed through recommending main modifications.

The Inspector also chose not to suspend the Examination to give time for the Council to resolve these issues, as a suspension had previously been undertaken for similar reasons in July 2014 and the Inspector could not see that any progress had been made on the particular point of policy H6, concluding that the Plan: “is not positively prepared in that it does not meed objectively assessed needs or development requirements for housing travellers.”

What options are open to Maldon District Council now?

The options presented to the Council were to either withdraw the Plan or to receive a formal report from the Inspector recommending non-adoption.

In their response they have confirmed that they will be challenging the interim finding’s of the Planning Inspector, and since the Inspector makes no reference to other policies in his findings, the Council will continue to enforce and implement them.

In their statement the Council responded stating they were: “shocked and extremely concerned about planning implications within the district” and that it “remains committed to… discharging the public sector equality duty within the local development plan.”

What does this mean for land and urban planning in the area?

Fundamentally Maldon District Council is left without a Local Plan in place and with no confirmation that their proposed figures will meet the 5 year land housing supply need.

It seems therefore that they are back to square one and we will hear more in the coming weeks about how they will move forward and at what point they will commence new consultation on the Local Plan.

How do Plainview Planning add value?

Plainview Planning represent a number of land owners and developers within the Maldon District and we have been actively engaged with the Examination process throughout its 13 month duration.

As part of our involvement in the Local Plan process, we have independently assessed housing figures, promoted relevant sites which meet the requirements of sustainable development as outlined in the NPPF and NPPG and attended many of the Examination meetings, providing relevant feedback to our clients and presenting recommendations to better the Plan in the long term.

We regularly promote land as potential strategic development sites and submit planning applications on behalf of landowners and developers. We offer a variety of services and packages; from standard planning consultancy arrangements to land promotion agreements where we would take on some of the initial risk.

If you feel that you may have land suitable for development in this area and would like expert guidance and assistance the please contact us at to explore how we can best assist.