Nigel Taylor, DBC Councillor for Berkhamsted explains the strategic planning system, as it relates to housing numbers and the Planning Inspectorate:
"The way the UK strategic planning system operates at district-level is complex.
Central Government currently sets targets for where it wants houses built. Then local Councils are, in effect, forced to produce a local plan to deliver the Central Government target.
"If the council refuses to produce a Local Plan or does not plan for enough houses, the Government can transfer its planning powers to the Planning Inspectorate, which would give developers far greater freedom to do what they like, even on Green Belt.
Even delaying the plan by 6 months could allow developers to argue that they should be free to build on Green Belt. If the council refuses, they would be over-ridden by the Planning Inspector. The council could also be exposed to legal claims for costs resulting from such a delay.
This is likely to get worse if current Government plans, to change the planning system further in favour of developers, actually progress to becoming law."