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Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners report identifies 21 councils at risk of intervention due to slow local plan progress

Published: Thursday, 14th April 2016

Planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners latest annual assessment of local plans has identified the 21 planning authorities most at risk of government intervention.

This is due to slow progress in producing and approving up to date strategies.

They are: Brentwood, Chelmsford, Derbyshire Dales, East Hertfordshire, Epping Forest, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Hart, Mole Valley, New Forest, Oxford City, Rochford, Sevenoaks, South Buckinghamshire, Tanbridge, Three Rivers, Tonbridge and Malling, Uttlesford, Waverley, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wycombe.

Unsurprisingly, plan making has been marked slower in authorities with significant areas of green belt.

The NLP research report, ‘Early Adopters and the Late Majority - A Review of Local Plan Progress and Housing Requirements’, claimed that the four-year old National Planning Policy Framework had resulted in a “significant boost” in planned housing supply across England.

Excluding London, up-to-date local plans were planning for 19 per cent more housing than the equivalent household projections, the researchers said. Key figures from the report showed that:

  • 139 local plans had been examined or submitted for examination
  • 86 local plans found sound
  • 25 local plans withdrawn on the basis of soundness concerns
  • 31 per cent of local planning authorities have an up-to-date local plan
  • One in 15 local plans had failed the duty-to-cooperate
  • 16 plans found sound with a housing requirement below objectively assessed need
  • 19 per cent, the amount by which planned supply exceeds household projections in aggregate within up-to-date local plans.

NLP's concluded that all parties engaged in achieving sound local plans will need to get to grips with a different set of evidential hurdles focused on:

  • Development constraints, including environmental and deliverability constraints and ensuring green belt reviews are undertaken more effectively
  • Ensuring a more robust and deliverable land supply
  • The spatial strategy and distributing unmet housing needs as the duty-to-cooperate is given more bite.

View the report

Roger Milne