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This warning was issued over the weekend by the Housing Minister:
Councils given until 2017 to produce local plans
Councils will have until the start of 2017 to produce local plans or face central government stepping in and doing it for them, housing minister Brandon Lewis has said.
Lewis told Parliament in a written statement that plans to take over the responsibility for producing local planning documents from councils that have not produced them, announced two weeks ago, will take effect from “early 2017.” Although Lewis gave no exact date for the introduction of the powers, Building understands January 2017 will be the cut-off date.
Lewis said the deadline would mark five years since the reform of the planning system through the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which brought in a presumption in favour of sustainable development. He said: “In cases where no Local Plan has been produced by early 2017 – five years after the publication of the NPPF – we will intervene to arrange for the Plan to be written, in consultation with local people, to accelerate production of a Local Plan.”
Lewis also repeated government plans, also revealed two weeks ago, to strengthen the duty of local authorities to co-operate with neighbours where it was not possible to supply all the housing needs of their area locally. He said: “Local authorities cannot plan in isolation. Where local authorities cannot meet their housing needs in full, they should co-operate with other local authorities to do so. We will strengthen planning guidance to improve the operation of the duty to co-operate on key housing and planning issues, to ensure that housing and infrastructure needs are identified and planned for.
“It is particularly important that this co-operation happens where our housing needs are greatest.”
Lewis said these measures would help to accelerate housebuilding over the next five years.
Councils given until 2017 to produce local plans | Online News | Building
This is comment from the Building Design website:
Planning minister warns councils to produce local plans by 2017 - or else | News | Building Design
Here is some more analysis:
What the government's new deadline for local plan production means for local authorities and applicants | Planning Resource
It seems, however, that the Housing Minister is not very keen on Local Plans anyway:
Why Brandon Lewis Doesn't Like Local Plans – Non-Local Plan Areas are Increasing Housing Faster | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Brandon Lewis Says You Can Forget About Local Plans | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Housing minister says councils can forget local plans | News | Inside Housing
And this is perhaps why:
Councils without local plans building faster
Councils with no local plan in place are building homes at a faster rate than those with an adopted plan, Inside Housing research has found.
Exclusive research by Inside Housing using government and planning Inspectorate data shows 127 councils with no local plan in place increased the number of homes started in 2013/14 by 13,020 compared with the previous year - an increase of 35.9%.
By contrast, 167 councils with any form of local plan only increased their housebuilding by just 22.6%, an increase of 11,760 homes. Councils which had adopted a plan after the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in March 2012, increased housebuilding by 29.2%, This was better than those with an older plan (19.4%), but they were still significantly behind those with no plan at all.
EXCLUSIVE: Councils without local plans building faster | Investigations | Inside Housing