• A quarter of all councils to take over a year to finish Local Plans

    7th March 2013 | News | Claire
  • “Published” simply means draft and the NPPF presumption in favour of development applies – and will do – until the Local Plan has been adopted, which can be months or more than a YEAR after the Examination In Public.  In East Devon, the latest is that the Examination in Public will take place towards the end of this year.  Although some weight can be applied to “emerging policies” essentially, the NPPF will probably trump any draft Local Plan, especially with no five year land supply. 

    What a stitch up.

    Here’s the story ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    More than a quarter of local planning authorities in England expect that it will take more than a year from now for their local plan to be adopted, according to new research.

    According to the figures, published by charity the National Trust, 49 per cent of councils in England will have an adopted local plan in place when the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) comes fully into force on 27 March.

    But the research, carried out by the Local Government Information Unit on behalf of the National Trust, found that 26.8 per cent of local planning authorities in England “expect that it will take more than a year from now for their local plan to be adopted”.

    Just under one-fifth (17.5 per cent) of English local planning authorities expect to adopt their plan within the next six to 12 months, according to the research, while 6.7 per cent expect to adopt their plan after 27 March, but “within the next six months”.

    The findings are based on responses from just under a quarter of England’s 337 local planning authorities, the National Trust said.

    The National Trust is calling for an extension to the NPPF’s transitional arrangments.

    Under the transitional provisions set out when the NPPF was published in March 2012, councils with local plans adopted since 2004 were told they could continue to give full weight to relevant policies “even if there is a limited degree of conflict” for 12 months.

    But following the 12-month transition period, which ends on 27 March, decision-takers must give due weight to relevant policies in existing plans “according to their degree of consistency” with the NPPF, the framework says.

    Peter Nixon, director of conservation at the National Trust, said: “The success of the NPPF depends entirely on local plans being adopted.

    “A perfect storm of council cuts, the loss of regional strategies and just 12 months to adopt new plans has been too much for many councils to bear.

    “Councils need more time to get their local plans in place to protect land from unwanted development and ensure communities get the development they need, in the right place.”

    The National Trust pointed to a speech made by the planning minister, Nick Boles, in January, in which he said that councils which do not produce “credible plans to meet local housing need will find that the presumption in favour of sustainable development will trump local decisions”.

    Countryside lobby group the Campaign to Protect Rural England this week said that 52 per cent of councils in England do not have a local plan in place only three weeks before the NPPF is due to fully come into force.

    A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Seven out of ten local councils now have published local plans compared to two out of ten previously, and there is good progress across the remainder so communities will not now become more at risk of unsustainable speculative development.

    “Up to date local plans provide certainty to both local residents and local firms, and we have offered councils a range of practical assistance to help them get up to speed.”