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Pincher urges councils to keep local plans up to date

Words: Laura Edgar
Christopher Pincher / by UK Parliament is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Housing minister Christopher Pincher has exhorted councils to keep their local plans up to date to guarantee that England ‘gets on with building the homes it needs and in the right places’.

In a written ministerial statement, Pincher highlighted the government’s ambition to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, making up-to-date local plans “central” to achieving it.

Refreshed plans, he said would “not only unlock land for development and ensure that the right number of new homes are being built in the right places, they also provide local communities with an opportunity to have their say on how their local areas will change over the coming years, and how the local environment can be protected and enhanced”.

Although 91 per cent of local planning authorities have adopted a local plan, many are not being kept up to date, said Pincher.

“In March 2020, the government set a clear deadline of December 2023 for all authorities to have up-to-date local plans in place. It is critical that work should continue to advance local plans through to adoption by the end of 2023 to help ensure that the economy can rebound strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic. Completing local plans will help to ensure that we can build back better and continue to deliver the homes that are needed across England.”

Contributions to the consultation on the planning white paper, Planning for the Future, which closed in October, should help to make the planning system “simple, faster and more predictable”, he said. Although the proposals need to be developed further, Pincher explained, local authorities “should not use this period as a reason to delay plan-making activities”.

"Authorities who have an up-to-date plan in place will be in the best possible position to adapt to the new plan-making system,” he said. Pincher concluded his statement by saying he is considering writing to the authorities where delays have occurred.

The housing minister's full statement can be read of the UK Parliament website.

Image credit | Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP by UK Parliament is licensed under CC BY 3.0