COVENTRY City Council has ruled out a formal review of its controversial Local Plan housing blueprint – after a cabinet member’s comments prompted confusion.
In a full council meeting on Tuesday (June 18) newly instated Labour cabinet member for housing, Tariq Khan, appeared to suggest a review WILL take place.
Opposition Conservative councillors and green belt campaigners were demanding to know whether the plan’s formal review clause was set to be triggered.
But a council spokesperson told us: “The criteria to review our Local Plan early has not been met – so the formal review clause has not been triggered.
“It is important however to point out that we are constantly monitoring our local plan in accordance with national guidance which may have been the cause of the confusion.”
The Local Plan – which has drawn many opponents – claims to outline the need for more than 42,400 homes in and around the city by 2031.
Confusion reigned after Tuesday’s meeting.
Independent councillor Glenn Williams asked: “Would the cabinet member Tariq Khan agree to review the Local Plan?”
To which he responded: “I most certainly will.”
After laughter in the chamber, he added: “Sorry I understood the question to be that ‘will you review the Local Plan’?
“As you know, and we discussed the matter in my office, I told you it is something I will be looking at and I am in the process of discussing it with the council officers.”
Questions and confusion spilled over on to social media later that evening.
Conservative group leader Gary Ridley tweeted: “At full council and new Labour cabinet member promises to ‘review’ the Local Plan and says he will be looking at it in detail.
“Are we about to see a u-turn on greenbelt development?”
In response, Labour deputy leader Abdul Khan tweeted: “That’s NOT what he said!
“You are misrepresenting his statement. Nothing new there.”
Conservative councillor Tim Mayer then tweeted a video of the exchange, saying: “For clarity on this point, I think this is fairly clear.
“The cabinet member did say not once but twice that he would be reviewing the Local Plan following questions.”
A Coventry green belt campaigner Peter Maddock said: “It would a very appropriate time to trigger the review clause.
“There are many holes in the Local Plan.”
He has outlined in eleven points why a review of the Local Plan should be considered by the ruling Labour administration.
He said: “One. The population projections have been called into question with factual evidence backed by University professors.
“Two. Highways England is challenging the highways plans across Coventry.
“Three. There are major air quality problems in Coventry.
“Four. Coventry’s University Hospital has clearly stated that it does not have the capacity required for the extra people that would need services.
“Five. Other important areas of the NHS such as mental health, ambulance services, GP services have not been consulted.
“Six. The Environment Agency has expressed concerns about possible flooding.
“Seven. There are major problems with the pace of Employment Plan. For example – JLR withdrawal and lack of progress on City Centre South development.
“Eight. Failure to implement charges on developers, particularly for student accommodation.
“Nine. There are no design principles in place prior to development applications being received.
“Ten. Traffic congestion issues, risks to health as a result of poor air quality and pressures on accessing hospital services will affect all parts of Coventry, thus rendering the Local Plan unsustainable.
“Eleven. There has been no consideration for accommodating a multi-purpose sports stadium for our treasured Coventry City Football Club.”