The Useless Power to Direct Joint Plans but Not Joint Planning Committees

In light of the recent decision of Tewksbury to veto its own joint plan and a couple of years ago South Beds re South Beds and Luton, who cannot spot the fundamental problems with the Government’s new Clause to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill?

The Secretary of State may direct two or more local planning authorities
to prepare a joint development plan document. etc.

Simple it fails to give the SoS power to create a similar joint committee under the 2009 Act.

5 thoughts on “The Useless Power to Direct Joint Plans but Not Joint Planning Committees

  1. Unfortunately, having a joint committee did not save the Luton & south Central Bedfordshire Core Strategy in 2011. When problems and disagreements arose between Luton and Central Bedfordshire over a number of issues, particularly housing numbers and specific sites (eg Houghton Regis), the only thing the joint committee could agree on was to withdraw the plan and to disband itself.

    Directing two or more authorities to prepare a joint plan, with or without a joint committee, does not mean it will actually happen.

    And giving default powers to County Councils to prepare plans is fraught with difficulties. Where will they quickly find the expert staff and funding to prepare a complex local plan, even in the unlikely event that the political will is found to take on such a controversial and thankless task? Another solution is required.

    • There was no problem with Luton and south beds until Beds CC was abolished, then with two membwers only no plurality. A rule for an odd number of members and the ss to appoint the last member would solve

      • I don’t think greater numbers, or an odd number, of joint committee member bodies would resolve the problem. For instance, the four authorities on the joint committee of the Central Lincolnshire plan all agreed together to withdraw it in 2013. And a dissenting authority can make joint plan-making almost iimpossible.

  2. You’re right, Andrew! But I still believe a dissenting authority could make the strategic plan-making process very slow.

    S28 of the 2004 Act is about voluntary joint committees. So is the new amendment to that section in the Bill just “directing” a voluntary joint committee? Or is it coercion and the taking away of a council’s duties as the LPA for plan-making in its area?

    The joint committees I have seen make their decisions by a simple majority vote of those present. So another danger is that a dissenting authority might find itself overruled and forced to accept development. Unless Memorandums are changed to require unanimous votes by all member bodies…. Shades of glacial EU decision making?!

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