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.


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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