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18.03.16

Consultation opens on making up-to-date local plans a legal requirement

Local authorities should be required to develop a local plan, the Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) suggest in a new report that is now open for consultation.

Less than a third of local authorities have an up-to-date plan for delivering sustainable development, according to LPEG. Local plans are also taking longer to develop, with the average length of time from publishing to adopting a local authority plan increasing from 511 days in 2009 to 765 in 2015.

They recommend the government motivate local authorities to produce up-to-date local plans with financial incentives and a statutory duty.

The main problems local authorities reported to the LPEG included difficulties agreeing housing needs and fulfilling the duty to co-operate, a lack of political will and commitment, a lack of clarity on issues such as strategic planning and environmental constraints, changes of goal and a lack of guidance, support and resources.

Authorities were also concerned about legal and administrative matters including the extent of evidence based requirements, the examination process, the pass/fail nature of the duty to co-operate and soundness tests and the consistency of decision making from the Planning Inspectorate.

The LPEG’s other recommendations include that all local authorities produce a post national planning policy framework, including an assessment of environmental capacity requirement, by March 2018, and making developing a local plan a requirement of successful devolution bids.

Planning is a severe problem for local councils, with a recent survey finding that 96% of them have a severe or moderate need for affordable housing.

Wednesday’s Budget contained new proposals to speed up the planning process.

To make representations on the report, click here.

Comments

Cllr Steve Parish   21/03/2016 at 13:01

Nothing to do with abolition of regional strategies, or making it easy for speculators to go to court to get their greenfield land further up the housing pecking order?

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