LETTER: Is it a quango?

YOUR report last Thursday quotes the inspector at the local plan enquiry as saying that the council’s housing number of 410 was identified without clear evidence showing why the number could not be greater.

“That’s a problem for me in examining this plan,” she said.

That seems to imply that she felt required to increase the number for building 410 houses per annum for 15 years.

One wonders why that was ‘a problem’ for her.

After all, the district council needs: “To use its evidence base to ensure that the local plan meets the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area” (NPPF 47).

In our objection to the plan we said that the council had used the wrong criteria

for calculating housing needs.

One of which was their choice of the wrong housing market area of the coastal districts, including Worthing, Brighton and Lewes, instead of the adjacent districts of Arun, Horsham and East Hants.

However, it would seem more likely that the inspector’s difficulty was because the government was expecting much more housing to be provided.

But that would mean that the number would not be ‘objectively assessed’, but dependent on the government’s subjective viewpoint. It would also tend to confirm what some suspect – that the inspectorate is a quango, rather than a genuinely independent body, which would negate the appearance of a democratic system under the Localism Act.

Richard Hill

Chichester District CPRE