It seems like the Secretary of State has been giving advice to Local Mps to stall withdraw or delay local plans to take the heat out.
Basildon voted to withdraw their local plan two weeks ago. After intervention by the monitoring officer it was reported to full council last thursday. The officers report set out the dire consequences of doing do.
The day before the full council the Planning minister wrote to Basildon with the wimpiest threat he could ‘If the Council decides to withdraw the plan at the Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 3 March, I will ask my officials to carefully monitor your progress on preparing a new local plan. Given my continued commitment to ensuring up-to-date local plans are in place, I must remind the Council that the Government remain prepared to intervene where local authorities fail to make sufficient progress in accordance with the existing statutory powers in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. I will carefully consider all appropriate action using available statutory powers, including whether to direct with regard to the local development scheme and inviting the County Council to prepare a local plan for Basildon. ‘
He just said ill tell you off but all you’ll get is a brief period on the naughty step. Unlike the similar case in South Oxfordshire he did not apply a holding direction. Why?
It was a clear political signal to withdraw. No chance of a holding direction. Whatever my civil servants say ministers are issuing contrary go slow signals. Whilst Boris is in trouble don’t rock the boat don’t create political problems by pursuing housebuilding or Green Belt loss. Ill pretend im angry but wont apply any of my real powers to keep local plans on track. The new planning minister has shown already he is the weakest and most supplicant modern holder of that office. The real policy is go slow.