Government called on to investigate local authority planning delays

The Communities and Local Government Committee (CLGC) has called on the government to explain how it will tackle local authorities which have delayed revealing their local plans.

In its report, the CLGC claimed it was ‘disappointed’ to find that 17 per cent of councils still had not published local plans, while 44 per cent had not yet adopted plans. It also cautioned that proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) could lead to a stand off between developers and local authorities over the development of brownfield sites for housing.

The report said: “We have particular concerns about the risk that developers will delay developing brownfield sites because local authorities will be required to release more profitable greenfield sites if insufficient housing is delivered to meet local needs.”

A number of MPs have said they did not believe that there has been enough robust and evidence-based monitoring, evaluation or review of the NPPF and have called for a full review of national planning policy by the end of this Parliament.

Clive Betts, CLGC chair, said: “Councils need to do more to identify suitable brownfield sites and to protect their communities against the threat of undesirable development by getting an adopted local plan in place. The NPPF is designed to work side by side with local plans. It’s simply not good enough that 44 per cent of local authorities don’t have an adopted plan.

“The government needs to act to put an end to dawdling local authorities and indicate whether they will take up the recommendation by the minister’s own Local Plans Expert Group, and we call on him to reconsider the recommendation made by our predecessor committee that a statutory duty should be placed on local authorities to produce and maintain local plans.”