Published: Thursday, 7th July 2016
New report highlights that Clark has approved 2,530 new homes in neighbourhood plan areas using his recovery powers, 2,214 more than his predecessor…
New research has quantified a marked rise in the number of new homes approved in neighbourhood plan areas by the government since the 2015 General Election and after the introduction of temporary recovery powers by the Secretary of State.
This analysis, by planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP), showed that Communities Secretary Greg Clark has approved 2,530 new homes using his recovery powers, (initially established in July 2014) post-election. Over that period some 545 homes were dismissed by the SoS because of a conflict with the neighbourhood plan.
Before the election and after the recovery regime was instigated NLP’s research indicated that 316 homes were allowed by the then SoS (Sir Eric Pickles) while 1,348 dwellings were dismissed by the SoS due to conflict with the neighbourhood plan.
In the period before recovery powers just 165 dwellings were allowed by the SoS in neighbourhood plan areas while 111 dwellings were dismissed due to conflict with a neighbourhood plan.
The NLP report noted that so far there are over 1,800 designated neighbourhood plan areas and now over 160 ‘made’ plans. To date 2,755 homes have been refused at appeal due to conflict with an neighbourhood plan. Just over 60 per cent of neighbourhood plans now in force are alongside out-of-date local plans.
NLP also proposes a series of improvements to the regime including a minimum voter turn-out threshold of 35 per cent to validate neighbourhood plan referenda.
NLP concluded that so far the impacts of the neighbourhood plan system have been mixed. “Some of the positive local planning envisaged has taken place but too often the process has been used as a tool to prevent or frustrate much needed development or cause unintended confusion and uncertainty where local pans have failed to provide this”.