Why so much faith that the ‘fix’ to the build what you like where you like world of teh NPPF is to have more local plans? As the DCLG Select Committee thinks. For a while Brandon Lewis seemed to have given up on local plans but now he criticizes ‘slow coaches’ = learning from his boss to bash local government for your own policy failings.
But this is completely impractical. Only 12 plans were found sound in 2013. I havent kept a running total for 2014 but it has to be less or around that number.
The recent National Trust report showed that over half of local plans were now out of date in terms of 5 years supply. That figure will surely grow especially as dozens of authorities now have to deal with Brum and London overspill, and they have no idea just how much OAN they should take as a result.
To get every local authority to have adopted plans within 3 years as the DCLG select committee suggests is a non solution. It would require a 5-10 fold increase in plan adoptions, at a time when local planning authorities will have to do cuts again on top of the 57% cuts they did to planning during the coalition. Where are all of the inspector sot come from? How will the LPAs work out their overspill OAN given the lcak of regional studies (except for Greater Brum) and in the absence for mechanism for agreeing overspill (including Greater Brum). Its a total fantasy it wont happen.
The only way to have planned housing meeting need rather than speculative bloat of villages is to abandon the idea that local plans can fill the gap in the timescale needed whoever wins the next election – they cant. Local plans are a good answer to a different question – where you know how much shortage housing in a local area you need to build where to build it. But local authorities dont know the scale of metropolitan overspill so they cant. The only solution is to recognise that a big gap needs big solutions – that:
1) We need to dramatically bring forward regeneration of major brownfield sites in urban areas – which will meet about 20% of the housing need from even the CPRE figures
2) We need to bring forward a new wave of Garden Cities and Sustainable Urban Extensions – which from the Shelter calculations similarly meets 20% of the need.
In neither case is putting all of our hopes and no money into local plans is not the solution. We need masterplans and strategic plans – then local plans can catch up once we have done the real big boy grown up planning.