Chief officer behind Rugby's Local Plan set to leave council

Rugby's town hall.
Rugby's town hall.

The council officer in charge of Rugby's controversial Local Plan is set to leave the authority.

Head of growth and investment Rob Back oversaw the Local Plan, including the controversial decision to swap housing allocations at Walsgrave for a 1,500 home proposal at Lodge Farm - a proposal which was heavily criticised by a government inspector.

The council said Mr Back's decision to leave is not connected to the inspector's letter - which detailed major changes that are recommended for the plan.

On May 24 the Advertiser learned that the other senior figure behind the Local Plan, cabinet member for the growth and investment portfolio Cllr Heather Timms, is stepping down from her cabinet role - although she said the decision had nothing to do with the inspector's criticisms of the plan.

After a series of hearings which began at the start of the year government inspector Mike Hayden wrote to the council last week to suggest major changes to the plan - including the removal of Lodge Farm.

The inspector's letter came after years of criticism from campaigners and residents leveled at the council for their handling of the plan.

A spokesperson for Rugby council said a job advert to find a replacement for council officer Mr Back was posted before Mr Hayden submitted his proposed modifications.

The spokesperson added Mr Back handed in his notice "long before" the council received the inspector's letter.

The job advert was posted on May 14, while the council received the inspector's letter on May 16 after the most recent stage of Local Plan hearings had ended on April 27.

The job post tells applicants one of their key roles will be to lead on the delivery of the Local Plan.