Next week Central Bedfordshire’s Executive Committee will consider whether the draft Gypsy and Traveller plan for the area should be withdrawn from the Planning Inspectorate.
This comes after the draft plan provoked a series of challenges and questions from the Inspectorate, (an office of the national civil service based in Bristol) including whether the consultation has been sufficient and whether the approach to measuring and providing for need is appropriate.
Nigel Young, Executive Member for Strategic Planning said: “We submitted our plan in good faith, believing our Plan to be sound and expecting the Examination of it by the Inspector to result in it being approved. It appears, however, that we were wrong.
“Despite being further along the process than the overwhelming majority of Councils and proposing more pitches than any other, the Planning Inspector tells us that we haven’t done enough. In view of this, it is with enormous frustration and regret that we have to consider withdrawing our plan.”
The Planning Inspectorate is aware of the Council’s position and will be writing to the 2,400 people who took part in the consultation to advise them that the Examination hearings that had been scheduled for next month will be cancelled.
The ultimate decision about the withdrawal of the plan would be made at full Council in September.
Cllr Young added: “As we reconsider our position and our approach, we can only hope that there is some reflection in Whitehall on whether the existing requirements and inspection model are ever likely to result in plans that can realistically be delivered.”