Local plans process under review

16 Sep 15

Planning minister Brandon Lewis has launched a review of how local plans are agreed, with the aim of cutting the amount of time it takes councils to get them in place.

Lewis announced on Tuesday he had appointed a group of experts to consider how the adaptation of plans could be quickened.

The government’s productivity plan, issued in July, said that councils that fail to produce guidelines for housing and commercial development plans by early 2017 could be forced to do so.

The plans are intended to give communities a greater say in development, including housing, and are to be approved by local referendums.

Under Lewis’ review, the eight-strong group, chaired by John Rhodes of planning consultants Quod and including former British Property Federation chief Liz Peace, will consider how to expand the use of plans.

In total, 82% of local authorities (276) have published local plans and 64% (216) have adopted them.

“Our planning reforms have caught the imagination of communities across the country, allowing them to bring forward developments that are a real benefit to local people,” Lewis said.

“However, while many have seized this opportunity, it’s fair to say the process of getting local plans in place can sometimes be lengthy and complicated.

That’s why we’ve brought together this panel of experts to help look at ways to streamline the process. Their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need.”

Members of the expert panel are:

John Rhodes, Quod planning consultants

Adrian Penfold, British Land

Richard Harwood QC, 39 Essex Chambers

Councillor Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council

Keith Holland, retired senior planning inspector

Liz Peace, former chief executive, British Property Federation

John Howell, MP for Henley

Derek Stebbing, local authority plans manager for Chelmsford City Council


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