Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies

Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies

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Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs) bridged the gap between those planning issues determined by local policy or concern, and those subject to policy goals defined at a national level - such as those for housing or renewable energy. The committee did not pass judgment on the merits of regional spatial strategies, but is concerned about the hiatus created by their intended abolition. This is giving rise to an inertia that is likely to hinder development - making it much harder to deliver necessary but controversial or emotive 'larger than local' facilities and to ensure that our national need for new housing is met. There also needs to be a strengthened local authority 'duty to co-operate' and a better understanding of where Local Enterprise Partnerships will fit into these new planning arrangements. The Government's recognition that we need to build more houses, and its commitment to deliver 150, 000 affordable homes over the next four years (although this is not an exceptional number by historic standards) is welcomed. However, the likelihood of achieving this increase through the New Homes Bonus is questioned. There is no evidence this mechanism will increase housing supply by 8 - 13% in the way that ministers predict. Indeed, it became clear during this inquiry that estimates for new house building contained in local authorities' plans have already fallen by 200, 000 following the decision to abolish RSSs. The committee concludes that this Government may face a stark choice between whether to build fewer homes than its predecessors, or abandon its commitment to promote localism in decisions of this kind. The committee therefore calls for the New Homes Bonus to be linked explicitly to the delivery of homes provided for in local plans following robust assessments of housing needMr Blackman said that we simply havena#39;t built many houses; 1924 was the last time we managed to put these kinds of houses together. I want to be clear ... All that does is give planning permission; it does not mean that the houses will be built.

Title:Abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies
Author:Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Communities and Local Government Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2011-03-01


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