Responding to the announcement and the details of the plan, Cllr Richard Clewer, CCN Spokesperson for Housing & Planning said;
“Our member councils are supportive of a plan-led planning system, and some of the additional detail behind the revised National Planning Policy Framework published today is welcome. This includes clarification around the use of housing targets in the context of plan making, and further clarity around planning decisions and the Green Belt.
“We also welcome the changes to policy around land supply for housing, including the requirement for a four-year land supply where certain criteria are met. This will go some way to avoid speculative development that goes against the direction set out in a local plan, whilst a new plan is being prepared. The impact of this should be monitored to ensure developers don’t seek to makes cases that allow them to circumvent this.
“However, proposals to intervene and remove council planning powers where councils make slow progress with plan preparation must be exercised proportionately. Our members recognise that local plans need to be developed in a timely fashion, but creating arbitrary time scales without considering the size of authorities is not going to help deliver appropriate development. CCN’s unitary member authorities cover large areas and councils need to develop local plans that deliver sustainable housing for their communities, rather than be rushed into solutions that fail to deliver sustainable communities.
“CCN also remains concerned that the NPPF and wider reforms in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act continue to underplay the importance of strategic planning on a county-wide scale. Ensuring the right the homes in the right places, supported by high-quality infrastructure, requires a more joined up approach across local authorities, particularly in two-tier areas.
“Finally we welcome the awarding of funding through the Planning Skills Delivery Fund, which give a timely financial boost to some CCN members who have been awarded funds today. Nonetheless, long term funding for planning authorities remains vital if this additional resource is to ease the backlog of undetermined applications and give under resourced planning authorities the funding they need to speed up the application process.”