Latest Public Sector News

17.11.17

Justify your lack of housing plans or face intervention, Javid tells 15 councils

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has written to the leaders of 15 local authorities that have failed to produce a Local Plan, as required by the housing white paper.

The white paper, 'Fixing our broken housing market', published in February, requires councils to develop a plan to meet their housing needs with their communities, or to work with neighbouring authorities if that is not possible.

However, 15 local authorities have failed to make progress in producing a local plan and face government intervention.

In his letter to the councils, Javid discussed the lack of homes faced by the country. He identified the problems as “not enough local authorities planning for the homes they need; house building that is simply too slow; and a construction industry that is too reliant on a small number of big players.”

He told the councils in question that they have failed to meet the deadlines that were set out in Local Development Schemes.

The housing white paper set out that the government would prioritise intervention in cases where the least progress in plan-making has been made; polices in plans have not been kept up to date; there is a higher housing pressure; and intervention would have the greatest impact in accelerating production of a Local Plan.

“My decisions on intervention will also be informed by the wider planning context in each area (specifically, the extent to which authorities are working cooperatively to put strategic plans in place, and the potential impact that not having a plan has on neighbourhood planning activity),” Javid explained in the letter.

The secretary of state has requested that the council leaders in question “justify the failure of your council to produce a Local Plan,” along with any measures that have been or will be taken to accelerate plan publication.

His officials have been engaging with council officers and will write to the council leaders with further details and next steps.

The 15 councils facing intervention are Basildon, Brentwood, Bolsover, Calderdale, Castle Point, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Mansfield, North East Derbyshire, Northumberland, St. Albans, Thanet, Wirral and York.

The deadline for them to respond with details of exceptional circumstances is 31 January 2018.

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