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Local plan progress ‘marginal’ claims report

by on April 9, 2015

Local plan progress over the last three years since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published has been “marginal”, according to an assessment by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners.

The consultancy pointed out that only a quarter of English local authorities have a NPPF-compliant up-to-date adopted plan.

Around a fifth have a plan submitted and an examination underway or forthcoming. Some 62 plans have been found sound. But 21 have been withdrawn because of concerns over soundness while 32 per cent of adopted plans require an immediate or early review.

The report: ‘Signal Failure: A Review Of Local Plans And Housing Requirement’ highlighted that the Planning Policy Guidance launched in March 2014 was not being applied consistently.

The authors of the report stressed that “plans are not yet dealing effectively with ‘overspill’ issues, particularly from urban areas.

“This is the next major hurdle for plan-makers: even where the scale of unmet need is known (as with London and Birmingham), there is limited evidence of plans or inspectors answering vital questions over how the overspill is distributed to surrounding locations.”

On average it now takes five months longer for plans to be found sound after being submitted than it did before the NPPF was introduced.

Particular problems noted by the research included identifying which neighbouring authorities will be asked to meet the housing overspill that cannot be accommodated by the council itself.

Also looming large was the fact that authorities constrained by large green belts appeared to be dragging their feet over housing requirements in their plans.

Read the report on the Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners website.

Roger Milne

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