Action required to ensure that local authorities meet local plan: late plans to be written in consultation with 'local people'
Since the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, local authorities have had more than a decade to produce a Local Plan. Most have done so – 82 per cent of authorities have published a Local Plan.
Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis has now confirmed that councils have to produce a local plan by March 2017, 5 years on from publication of the NPPF, comments NLP planning consultants. "If they don’t, their Plan will be written by others (exactly who this will be is unspecified as yet). Communities Secretary Greg Clark has written in parallel to the Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, obliquely referring to recent local plans that have been found unsound very late on in the preparation process. Citing the Planning Advisory Service Note, ‘Early reviews’ and local plans, he stresses the importance of pragmatism and ‘getting a Local Plan in place at the soonest opportunity, even if it has some shortcomings which are not critical to the whole plan’."
'Through NLP’s own monitoring of local plan progress nationally, we know the problems raised by unmet housing need. Even with the new deadline and strengthened national policy, there is a long way to go; there is still no deadline for plan adoption. But seeing the Government persuade and cajole recalcitrant local authorities to get on with plan-making –with the support of Inspectors - is welcome,'says Margaret Baddeley, NLP Planning Director.
In cases where no Local Plan has been produced by early 2017 – five years after the publication of the NPPF – Government plans to arrange for the Plan to be written, it comments, in consultation with 'local people', to accelerate production of a Local Plan. Local Plans that are brought forward should meet local needs by being produced in good time and being kept up to date. They should be sufficiently clear and concise to be accessible to everyone with a local interest.
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