1 Introduction |
1. We launched an inquiry in the summer of 2010,
soon after the Secretary of State announced the immediate revocation
and intended abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs).
Our terms of reference focussed on: the implications of the abolition
of regional house building targets for levels of housing development;
the likely effectiveness of the Government's plan to encourage
local communities to accept new housing development by the use
of financial incentives; and the level of the incentives that
will be needed to ensure an adequate long-term supply of housing.
We also considered the arrangements that should be put in place
to ensure appropriate co-operation between local planning authorities
on matters formerly covered by RSSs, such as waste, minerals and
flooding, as well as housing. We asked how the data and research
previously collated by the Regional Local Authority Leaders' Boards
should be made available to local authorities and how that research
would be updated.
2. As well as receiving written evidence, we held
four oral evidence sessions, and invited witnesses from: the planning
sector; community and environmental groups concerned with planning;
the housing industry and organisations; local authorities; and
representatives and Ministers from the Department for Communities
and Local Government (DCLG). We thank our specialist advisers,
Richard Bate and Kelvin MacDonald.
3. One of our witnesses commented:
Having taken 30 years to build up the strategic planning
system, and perhaps 3 years to prepare each Regional Plan, it
has taken literally 3 months to abandon the whole process and
create a situation of complete paralysis in the planning system.
This Report considers to what extent views like these
are justified. It describes the role that Regional Spatial Strategies
played, and the views submitted on their effectiveness. We study
the new planning system, with the role of strategic planning,
local authorities' 'duty to co-operate', the new Local Enterprise
Partnerships and how the new system will deal with controversial
strategic planning issues. We concentrate on the removal of housing
targets and how the housebuilding incentive scheme, the New Homes
Bonus, will work, in particular in encouraging local authorities
to invest in the building of housing, including affordable housing.
1 Richard Bate declared the following interests: providing
independent professional reports once each by the South East England
Regional Assembly (on construction aggregates requirements, 2008)
and by the West Midlands Regional Assembly (on housing requirements,
2009); involved in the procedures of regional plan preparation
in five regions on behalf of various clients; user of the plans,
data, analyses and monitoring reports provided in association
with Regional Spatial Strategies.
Kelvin MacDonald declared the following
interests: Consultant adviser on Policy and Partnerships for the
Royal Town Planning Institute; Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department
of Land Economy, Cambridge University; a Registered Commissioner
on the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC); a member of the
Enabling Panel for the Commission for Architecture and the Built
Environment (CABE); and a member of the Board of Trustees of Shelter. Back
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