Local planning authorities have until early 2017 to produce a local plan or the government will step in, the housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis has said.
In a written ministerial statement, Lewis stated that local plans, produced in consultation with the local community, were “the cornerstone of our planning reforms,” and that local plans adopted since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was introduced allocated significantly more housing than those adopted before the policy was implemented.
Therefore, Lewis explained, in areas where a local plan had not been produced by early 2017 – five years after the launch of the NPPF – the government would "intervene to arrange for the plan to be written, in consultation with local people, to accelerate production of a local plan".
Lewis also stated that the government would strengthen planning guidance to improve the operation of the duty to co-operate requirement on key housing and planning issues. "Local authorities cannot plan in isolation. They must work together to provide the land for the housing needed across housing market areas," he said.
Meanwhile, communities secretary Greg Clark wrote to the chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), highlighting the importance of up-to-date local plans and indicating PINS' role in the process.
"It is critical that inspectors approach examination [of local plans] from the perspective of working pragmatically with councils towards achieving a sound local plan," Clark wrote.