Not Surprising given Brandon Lewis’s comments before Christmas that you dont have to have a local plan and that local plan adoption has grown to a snails pace rate with plans becoming out of date more quickly then they are adopted. Of course much of the delay is the signals ministers have given that they can scrap targets, must have Green Belt Reviews, dont need to have green belt reviews, must meet OAN, dont need to meet OAN, withdrawing clear advice on OAN, amending NPPG endlessly etc. etc. ad nusiam. How can minister fail to uinderstand they are the main problem with slow plan adoption.
Keith Holland, group manager of projects and initiatives at the inspectorate, made the comments at Planning’s Local Plan Assessment Conference in London.
Holland said he was aware that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) was “under immense pressure from Downing Street to deliver more housing” and that the sector needed to acknowledge that a radical shift in the way the sector should be assessing need had taken place.
“I think ministers are losing patience with planning,” he said.
“They wonder ‘why is it taking so long for local plans to be put in place?’
“And I think we as planners need to demonstrate that we can deliver.”
Holland told planning professionals at the event that the consequences of failing to recognise the urgency of the situation could be significant.
“There’s a big danger that we’ll move along the road of very lightweight examinations of plans – like the neighbourhood plan approach,” he said.
“They’re going in that direction and saying ‘lets give the money to LEPs’.” [err what money]
However, Holland also warned attendees of the consequences of allowing over-optimistic Local Enterprise Partnership job creation projections to go unchallenged in draft local plans.
He said he was aware that there were often disparities between aspirations set out by funding-hungry economic development groupings and realistic expectations.
Holland said developers were likely to use LEP figures to push for higher housing supply targets if they went unchecked.
“DCLG are aware of this problem,” he said.
“I think that in the next round there will be more of a challenge with LEPs, saying ‘you’ve got to be much more realistic about this’.”