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Government announces Local Plan deadlines

In a Written Ministerial Statement on 22 July 2015 the Minister for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis, provided further details on a key planning pledge from the recent budget. This blog post explores what their impact might be.

The central message in this announcement was that if Councils don’t have a Local Plan by ‘early 2017 – five years after the publication of the NPPF’ then the government would intervene.

On the face of it, this is the sort of positive, pro-active step that we would welcome. Too often , Local Authorities avoid or delay preparing Local Plans for short-term political reasons. Those delays are one of the contributing factors to the current housing crisis.

As always though, the devil will be in the detail. The Statement doesn’t say that plans must be ‘adopted‘ by 2017 – the step when they legally come into effect. Instead, it says they must be ‘produced.’ Nor does the Statement say that the government will intervene to ensure plans are adopted. Instead, it says the government will ensure they are ‘written.’

That all seems to suggest that Councils will merely need to publish a draft Local Plan for consultation to avoid the government getting involved – a long way short of having the up-to-date, adopted Local Plan that is central to our supposedly plan-led planning system.

Unfortunately, it seems that the current policy vacuum is likely to persist for some time yet in many Local Authorities.

If you own a site that you think has development potential and are interested to know how The Strategic Land Group’s planning and development expertise can help you unlock that value – entirely at our own cost and risk – we would be delighted to discuss it with you on an entirely confidential basis. So why not get in touch?

Image courtesy of Eric Hossinger at Flickr.

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