Sajid Javid

Government to take action on councils failing to plan new homes

Housing secretary Sajid Javid (pictured above) has written to 15 local authorities in England to inform them of decisions on intervention regarding their failure to produce a local plan.

The 15 councils were due to provide an explanation by 31st January for the reason why they had not produced a plan, which sets out how and where new homes will be built in the future.

Of the 15 local authorities:

  • in Castle Point, Thanet, and Wirral, the government’s chief planner and a team of experts will be sent in to assess if the government needs to take over the process of producing the local plan
  • in Northumberland the government has instructed the council to produce their plan earlier and to make the timetable clearer
  • in Basildon, Bolsover, Brentwood, Calderdale, Eastleigh, Mansfield, St Albans, which 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
  • four local authorities – Liverpool, North East Derbyshire, Runnymede, York – have since published their plans.

Despite welcoming progress made by some of the councils, Mr Javid has said the government will act should there be any further significant delays to their timetable to submit a plan.

“While most councils rightly recognise their responsibilities and most have worked hard to meet the housing challenge, some have failed,” said Mr Javid.

“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.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has begun preparations to take over plan production so that work can begin as soon as possible.

A procurement process is underway to secure planning consultants and specialists to work on the plans should the councils miss their deadlines.

The department will also contact county councils and combined authorities in the areas concerned regarding the possibility of them writing plans.

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