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Ministers threaten to intervene on local plans

Published: Thursday, 16th July 2015

Councils that fail to agree a local plan could face direct government intervention under new reforms just proposed.

Over the summer recess, the government will set a deadline by which time local authorities will be expected to have local plans in place, after which the Secretary of State will have the power “to arrange for a local plan to be written, in consultation with residents”. The government also intends to produce league tables of local authorities ranked by their progress in developing their local plans.

Ministers have committed to making local plans “more responsive to local needs”. Significant streamlining of the length and process of local plan-making is promised along with strengthened guidance on the duty on local planning authorities to cooperate on key housing and planning issues. More detail is due in the autumn.

In a further bid to boost house building the government will legislate to grant automatic planning permission for housing on suitable brownfield sites identified on the new statutory registers of such sites (subject to a limited number of technical details).

The government will also consider how policy can support higher density housing around key commuter hubs. One option under consideration would mean mayors in London and across the country could use new powers under the Devolution Bill to use development corporations to deliver higher density housing in designated areas’.

Also promised are additional compulsory purchase reforms to further modernise the system, already undergoing major changes. Details will be announced in the autumn. “These will allow local authorities and others to drive forward and shape brownfield development, but will not alter the principle of Secretary of State sign-off on CPOs”.

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