Medway Council is to delay the publication of its draft Local Plan again, but cabinet members have been quick to point the finger of blame at central government.
The authority has reaffirmed its view that the document – which sets out planning policy and proposals for the Towns – is dependent on the outcome of a bid for £170m from Whitehall to improve local infrastructure.
Having already pushed the timetable back in December 2018, portfolio holders say another hold-up is “yet again” unavoidable because a decision – initially expected to be made in May – has yet to be reached.
Conservative Jane Chitty said: “It’s vitally important we send a very clear message that without (a successful) Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid, any large development is put at serious jeopardy.
“Any delay in the Local Plan has never been a delay we have sought or in any way recommended – it’s always been the government’s changes which have held up this process."
The unitary authority currently has no Local Plan in place, meaning “all-but-unsustainable” applications have to be approved – encouraging “speculative” developers from building on unpopular sites in the process.
Medway Council has spent more than £1m on its Housing Infrastructure Fund business case, and the most-recent hold-up means the new Local Plan would run until 2037 rather than 2035.