Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid has kept true to his word to put pressure on councils who fail to produce local plans.
Mr Javid has written to 15 local authorities updating each on the status of intervention due to a failure to progress a local plan. The councils had been on notice since November 2017, when the Secretary of State first wrote to them to express his concerns at the lack of an up to date local plan.
For three councils who have made the least progress from the original letter, Mr Javid is sending in a team of experts to make a direct assessment, ensuring they plan properly for the future. The councils in question are Castle Point, Thanet, and Wirral.
While in Northumberland, the Housing Secretary has instructed the council to produce their plan earlier and to make the timetable clearer. In Basildon, Bolsover, Brentwood, Calderdale, Eastleigh, Mansfield and St Albans, who have all committed to publishing draft plans before the end of September 2018, the government has made clear it will monitor their progress and that any further significant delay to meet this timescale will lead to the case for intervention being reconsidered.
The remaining four local authorities from the original 15 – Liverpool, North East Derbyshire, Runnymede, York – have since published their plans, yet they aren’t completely off the hook. Mr Javid wrote to them to say if there are any further delays to their timetable to submit the plan, the government will not hesitate to act.
Commenting on the issue, Mr Javid recognised that most councils have fulfilled their obligation to produce a local plan but acknowledged others had failed to do so. “I expect those authorities we identified in November to continue to make progress. I’m also stepping it up with three councils in particular, sending in a team of experts to make a direct assessment, ensuring they plan properly for the future or we’ll have to do it for them.”
His actions prove he is serious about tackling NIMBYism at a local level, as he seeks to fulfill his ambitious target of building 300,000 new homes every year in order to solve the housing crisis. At the same time, many people have expressed concerns that Westminster taking decision making away from local councils signals the end of localism.
This article was written by Daniel Barry, Account Executive at MPC.