Government’s New Round of Planning Reform to Reverse Localism ‘cut back on red tape and endless planning documents’.

Everything in todays press release is old news apart from the section on Planning Reform

This government believes that wherever possible, planning decisions should be made by local people. We will cut back on red tape and endless planning documents to focus on what people care about – local roads, schools and homes that meet their needs. That means giving local people more of a say on where new homes go and what they look like. We will also take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas.

Note the language ‘wherever possible, planning decisions should be made by local people‘  but ‘We will also take action on councils that have failed to produce a plan for the homes their community needs – ensuring plans are written for those areas‘.

Clearly a shift in language from the Localism act no longer an unqualified devolution – rather a centralisation where local authorities have not produced a local plan.  Even the language on the Green Belt is more centralist ‘continuing to protect the green belt for local people’ – read what we dont take out of the Green Belt we will leave for local people.

Clearly the whole agenda of the Localism Act and Planning reform has failed.  Rather than a flourishing of neighbourhood plans increasing housing allocations allocations have shrunk, the threat of appeal led planning was no incentive to produce local plans as local authorities found it easier to leave decisions to inspectors on appeal and blame the government.  The government bottled it anyway before the election and massively watered down the NPPF regime – a stick led system wont work without the bug stick so the government needs a plan B.  Hence with the failure of the duty to cooperate to provide an incentive to fill the void – Turkeys dont vote for Christmas – it looks likley the government is going down the track of consultant led planning where local plans are not in place.  Of course the biggeer problem now is not where there are no local plan but have local plans are in place but massively out of date, underestimating housing numbers.  What happens in a consultant led system when one authority says to another take my green belt overspill.  From locally led Garden Cities do we now get Consultant led Garden Cities?

It also appears the rumors of ministers ‘loosing faith’ in the Local plan led system are true and we will get ultra slim plans approved through an ulra slimmed down process.  The minimum of consultation and possibly a very short informal hearing.  Of course inspectors and consultants will still be snowed under with representations.

The brownfield homes ‘announced’ and expectedly magically to appear once housing zones have been declared (never mind the masterplanning) would be less than two years supply.  So this round of planning reform will last another two years or so before it is shown to fail.

 

2 thoughts on “Government’s New Round of Planning Reform to Reverse Localism ‘cut back on red tape and endless planning documents’.

  1. Localism is dead, long live dictatorship!!! Localism was never born, or at best died very quickly after it’s premature birth. An unsuspecting public were misled into thinking that they were being given control of the end product, vi the decision making process, when in fact they were being told to get involved early, at the plan making stage, but only if they wanted more and not less.
    In many ways it was as much of a sham as the NPPF was, with its claim to be, ‘everything you ever wanted to know about planning in 52 pages’. Even before the technical guidance and numerous ministerial ‘clarification’ letters emerged, the NPPF itself, had footnotes on nearly every page that amounted to a further 1800 plus further pages of planning guidance.

  2. Maybe an unsuspecting public expected their Councils to actually get on and produce a Local Plan.

    St Albans’ Local Plan dates from November 1994 and the current “progress” towards a replacement is a record of delay and denial. On Friday, they published details of yet another revised LDS timetable. Now, instead of Submission in September 2015, following the Reg 18 Consultation of Oct/Nov 2014, they’ve suddenly decided they need more information on the 8 sites identified as potential development areas by SKM’s independent Green Belt Review in February 2014! Why didn’t they do all that extra research as soon as the GB Review was complete, ahead of the Public Consultation?

    Because of this additional work, Submission is now pencilled in for November 2016. And as its based on a housing need figure of just 444 dwellings per annum (200 per year fewer than the DCLG’s latest household projections), expect a whole new revised LDS timetable when the Inspector tells them to go back to the drawing board and get real.

    Who can blame the Government for stepping in when (some) Local Planning Authorities have proven themselves to be so incapable?

    link: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/Planningpolicy/

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