Why Brandon Lewis Doesnt Like Local Plans – None Local Plan Areas are Increasing Housing Faster

Inside Housing 

Councils with no local plan in place are building homes at a faster rate than those with an adopted plan, Inside Housing research has found.

Exclusive research by Inside Housing using government andplanning Inspectorate data shows 127 councils with no local plan in place increased the number of homes started in 2013/14 by 13,020 compared with the previous year – an increase of 35.9%.

By contrast, 167 councils with any form of local plan only increased their housebuilding by just 22.6%, an increase of 11,760 homes. Councils which had adopted a plan after the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in March 2012, increased housebuilding by 29.2%, This was better than those with an older plan (19.4%), but they were still significantly behind those with no plan at all.

The figures are likely to spark debate about whether the NPPF, which makes it easier for developers to get planning approval in areas without a local plan, is leading to unsuitable or unpopular development.

Michael Carnuccio, policy adviser at the National Housing Federation, said: ‘This [the policy] makes it harder for local authorities to ensure housing is delivered in the right location and meets local needs.’ ‘To be effective, local authorities need to identify enough land to fully meet housing need and work with communities and developers to ensure sites are brought forward as intended.’ Brandon Lewis, housing minister, said: ‘Every council should be putting a local plan in place to help shape where development should and shouldn’t go.’ Earlier this month Mr Lewis said councils could choose to rely on the NPPF rather than a local plan and government would not intervene. Emma Reynolds, shadow housing minister, said: ‘Local plans are key to building public support for new homes.’ She said Labour would make it mandatory for councils to adopt local plans. Labour has also pledged to introduce a common methodology of assessing housing need. Tony Stacey, chief executive of 5,700-home South Yorkshire Housing, said: ‘I didn’t particularly expect councils with local plans to be delivering less. What really matters, more than the local plan being in place, is the attitude of the planners and the council and how they work with partners.’ David Montague, chief executive of 70,000-home housing association L&Q, said: ‘There is a fundamental problem with local planning, as noble and important as it is. Something needs to change. The starting point should be a national long-term, cross-party strategy committing to 2.5m homes, and a tax system that incentivises using land and penalises sitting on it.’

In Numbers: Average housing starts by local plan status

Average starts 2012/13 Average starts 2013/14
Councils with a post NPPF local plan 299 386
Councils with a pre NPPF local plan 318 379
Councils with no adopted plan 286 388

Basic statistical error in the Inside Housing Analysis. Only 33 Lpas have post NPPF local plans.  Which means the average number of completions per LPA, taking accoiunt of standard rror, is statstically indistinguishable.  All the analysis shows is those LPAs without local plans have now to build as many houses that those that do, which is exactly what you would expect.

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