THE leader of the opposition Labour group on Bromsgrove District Council has slammed the delays to the town's Local Plan.

Along with any neighbourhood plans, a Local Plan forms the overall development for an area, while any planning decisions must normally be taken in accordance with it.

The draft plan for Bromsgrove has now been put on hold until the authority reassess the housing numbers in their proposals. Hearings on the plan, expected to take place in September, have been postponed with no future dates planned.

The Planning Inspector has highlighted concerns with the way housing numbers have been calculated for the district, while their interim findings also raise questions about the ability of the council to provide sufficient affordable housing for local families.

The Inspector has called for a timeline to be drawn up, for reviewing the number of houses they are projecting the district requires.

This could also lead to a green belt review, looking for suitable areas where development could be built to meet future local housing, but also the potential overspill of thousands of houses from Birmingham - with the inspector calling for greater clarity on the timings and triggers for such a review.

Leader of the Labour group on the authority, Councillor Luke Mallett highlighted that the current draft plan first began being consulted on in spring 2011, saying it was still "nowhere close to being signed off."

He said: "It is highly regrettable that due to the long term political interference in the plan making process by the Conservative leadership, and their refusal to listen to other voices on the council when these issues were raised in the chamber, our plan has faltered at the first fence.

"This could mean months of delay and costs whilst potentially laying Bromsgrove District open to hostile planning applications from developers anticipating the imminent green belt review.

"Local people will rightly be asking what the cost of this latest delay is to the taxpayer.”

Councillor Kit Taylor, the portfolio holder responsible for planning, said: "A series of seminars were conducted to gain and take into account the views of all members.

"The so called matters raised in the chamber were a series of attacks on the plan which were unfortunately not backed up by correct and pertinent facts.

"Whilst I would agree that Bromsgrove needs a plan in place I am disappointed with the continual negativity expressed by the leadership of the Labour group."