How The Donald Trump Blowhard Local Plan Speed Up Will Slow Down their Adoption

The Demoines Register has published one of the all time great political editorials.

Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show

Blovating is to make a blowhard meaningless speech – particularly associated with Ohio Politics ‘.

President Warren Harding Described it as “the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing”.

An art that seems to have been mastered by DCLG ministers making speeches about planning or housing.

The is especially true of the follow up to the productivity plan on speeding up local plans – Written Statement – and many other similar ‘get your finger out’ speeches and announcements on the same subject.  Lots of biovation, lots of huffing and puffing and in the end nothing of substance and little new.

Whist the productivity plan talked of cutting down red tape and making plans shorter all the statement does is repeat references to guidance etc. that has been made many times before.

Are local plans to be statutory – no.  Ministers simply plan to use existing on the statute intervention powers unless submitted by ‘early 2017’  – will there be a single LPA that wont submit however bad or unsound a local plan by that date to avoid intervention?  Of course not its meaningless blowhard.

As structured the ‘reform’ is likely like an endless other series of misconceived ‘reforms’ to perversely slow things down.  Bad submissions always do.

The only other new thing in the statement is poorly thought through

We recognise that those councils who produce a Local Plan have committed considerable resources, as have others contributing to its development. They should be able to rely on Planning Inspectors to support them in the examination process. I have made it clear to the Planning Inspectorate that this support must be provided. In particular, Inspectors should be highlighting significant issues at an early enough a stage to give councils a full opportunity to respond. As we have made clear in planning guidance a commitment to an early review of a Local Plan may be appropriate as a way of ensuring that a Local Plan is not unnecessarily delayed by seeking to resolve matters which are not critical to the plan’s soundness or legal competence as a whole. The Planning Advisory Service has published a note on where Local Plans have been found sound, subject to early review, which local authorities should consider.

But submission is at the end of the process, if you have a good plan, of not it can be the beginning.  If as is hinted at teh six moth maximum delay is to be extended then we will have perma-examinations like the 2 1/2 year West Berks examination – and of course inspector legal scope on allowing for early review is limited – as the complex variation in practice on this point as inspectors have been faced with differing circumstances leading to different conclusions is made clear in the PINS note. Early review is not an option to the hold out we won’t cooperate councils who propose deliberately low numbers – in these cases inspectors have no legal scope to approve an unsound plan that might one day be made sound and in such casees there is not a single example of an inspector allowing such.

Ill considered submission of bad plans, perma-examinations, adoiption of dodgy plans that one day might be acceptable.  You really couldnt make up a dafter statement designed – as ever – to blow up in the Ominshambles DCLG face in a year or two.  When will they get a grip.


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