Action taken against councils failing to plan for new homes

Action is being taken against eleven councils across England who’s plans for new homes are insufficient.

In light of this, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has written to them to let them know of a government decision to intervene. This follows their ongoing failure to deliver a local plan – required to assist them in meeting housing needs.

The consideration of this intervention was confirmed in November last year, with the government stating that it could occur in 15 local authorities where a local plan had not been created.

The councils were told they had until the end of January to state why a plan had not yet been published, having to provide detail of any exceptional circumstances should these apply. Since this announcement, just four of the 15 councils have delivered a plan.

In turn, a team of experts alongside the Government’s Chief Planner will be sent in to Castle Point, Wirral and Thanet councils to assess whether they need to take over in the production of the plan.

Whilst the Northumberland council has been told to improve the clarity of the planning schedule, a number of other councils – Basildon, Bolsover, Brentwood, Calderdale, Eastleigh, Mansfield and St Albans – are having their situation monitored after they committed to draft plans being published before September this year.

The Government has made it clear, where these councils are concerned, that the progress will be tracked, with the case for the intervention being reconsidered should there be any further delay.

Relaying this to the councils, Javid stated: ‘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.

‘A procurement process is currently underway to secure planning consultants and specialists who will swiftly undertake the work on plan production should these councils not comply in the time required.

‘The department will also make contact with county councils and combined authorities in the areas concerned about the possibility of inviting those authorities to write plans.’

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