The Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has today (March 23) written to Eastleigh Borough Council and 14 other Local Authorities in England, to inform them of decisions on intervention following their continued failure to produce a local plan, which are key to setting out how and where they expect to meet residents’ needs for new homes, for more than a decade.
In November 2017, the Government confirmed it would commence the consideration of intervention in 15 local authorities where there has been a failure to produce a local plan. Local Plans are a key part of the Government’s programme of planning reform and targeted investment to ensure the homes local communities need are built.
Eastleigh had until 31 January 2018 to explain why they hadn’t yet published a plan, providing any exceptional circumstances for why the government shouldn’t intervene.
Following their submission, the Government has decided that Eastleigh, along with Basildon,Bolsover,Brentwood Calderdale, Mansfield and St Albans will not face sanctions as they have all committed to publishing their draft plans before the end of September 2018. The Government have added they will monitor progress and that any further significant delay to meet this timescale will lead to the case for intervention being reconsidered.
In Castle Point, Thanet, and Wirral, the Government’s Chief Planner and a team of experts will be sent in to assess if the Government needs to take over the process of producing the local plan.
In Northumberland the Government has instructed the Council to produce their plan earlier and to make the timetable clearer.
A press release from the Ministry of Housing stated:
“A locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, provide key infrastructure, support the local economy and protect the environment
Most councils have seized the opportunity that localism presents – however a small minority have not and do not have a local plan in place. This can mean uncertainty for local people, have a negative impact on neighbourhood planning groups, result in piecemeal speculative housing development and communities having no plans in place for crucial local infrastructure and services.”
Sajid Javid added:
“Whilst most councils rightly recognise their responsibilities and most have worked hard to meet the housing challenge, some have failed.
“I expect those authorities we identified in November to continue to make progress. I’m also stepping it up with three councils in particular, sending in a team of experts to make a direct assessment, ensuring they plan properly for the future or we’ll have to do it for them.”