News of mixed fortunes for two troubled and long-awaited council development strategies features in this week’s round-up of local plan news.
The government has revealed that it wants to see a quarter of affordable housing delivered via developer contributions dedicated to a new form of discounted market homes for first-time buyers. But the move has prompted concerns that other forms of affordable housing and development viability could be adversely affected.
Housing minister Christopher Pincher has stressed that local councils still have a key role in determining the overall numbers as well as the locations of new homes in their areas, in a defence of the government’s proposed revisions to its standard method of assessing housing need.
Planning inspectors have rebuffed St Albans Council’s attempt to save its troubled local plan by dropping its support for a 2,300-home garden village on a green belt site with government permission for a rail freight interchange, reiterating their finding that the strategy has failed to meet the duty to cooperate.
A Hertfordshire local authority has pushed back the publication of its new draft local plan from this year to next spring, saying coronavirus measures have held up the public consultation process.
The inspector examining the troubled South Oxfordshire local plan has concluded that it is “justified” in setting a homes target at a higher level than would arise from the standard housing need method, its spatial strategy is “sound” and there are “no reasonable alternatives” to the document’s proposed releases of green belt land.
A campaign group has progressed its legal bid to block the government’s latest deregulation of planning rules, which aims to suspend the impending introduction of the town centre use class shake-up as well as new residential permitted development (PD) rights.
Reorganising England’s local government into larger county-wide unitary authorities would help strategic planning for housing and infrastructure, according to a new report commissioned for the County Councils Network by multinational professional services firm PwC.
Three Gloucestershire district councils have launched a bid to merge the county’s seven local authorities into two unitaries, with the promise that it would “help provide a more strategic overview of planning”.
Refusals of homes considered to be “too small” and a “huge” 5G phone mast lead our round-up of today’s newspapers and online news.