A NEW inspector will be appointed to review Maldon District Council's Local Development after Secretary of State Greg Clark overturned a ruling that found it was “unsound”.

The council has received a long awaited response from Mr Clark in which he said after “careful consideration” he did not agree with inspector David Vickery’s view that the plan was unsound.

Mr Vickery had rule council’s bid to accommodate travellers was not up to scratch.

But Mr Clark said that it was disproportionate as the former inspector ‘had not’ examined the whole plan.

He said that in respect of the five year housing land supply, the former Inspector had raised nothing in his report to suggest that Maldon District Council had not undertaken a comprehensive and full objective assessment of housing needs.

Maldon District Council Leader, Councillor Miss Miriam Lewis met with the Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis MP and the Secretary of State, Greg Clark MP at the weekend and became aware that a decision was imminent.

Miss Lewis said, “We were very concerned at the stance taken by the former Inspector Vickery with his initial findings and the conclusions he had formed, not least that he did not identify any issues other than the Gypsy and Traveller assessment.

“This did not give the council a full opportunity to address any perceived issues.

“We considered his interim findings were not balanced or proportionate and alerted the Secretary of State via our two MPs, Priti Patel and John Whittingdale.”

Chairman of the planning and licensing committee, Penny Channer, added: “Maldon District Council feel vindicated by the response by the Secretary of State, as we felt we had submitted a robust plan. I am particularly pleased for all of the Officers and Members who worked tirelessly to put the Plan together.”

As the previous Inspector has now retired, the Secretary of State intends to appoint a new Inspector to continue to examine the plan going forward and for that person to reach their own view on what further evidence may be needed to complete the process.