Eric Pickles replaced.

Eric Pickles’ 5 year reign at the helm of Local Government has ended with his being replaced by the Rt Hon Greg Clark.

One can only wait and see whether the clear Government majority, ahead of the flawed Opinion Polls, and the new appointment will herald a change of Policy where meeting Housing Needs , as a boost to the Economy, is concerned.

The announcement reads:

The Rt Hon Greg Clark was appointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 11 May 2015. Previously Greg was appointed Minister of State on 7 October 2013 and Minister for Universities and Science on 15 July 2014. He was elected the Conservative MP for Royal Tunbridge Wells.


Born in Middlesbrough, Greg studied economics at Cambridge before earning his PhD from the London School of Economics.

Political career

Greg was Director of Policy for the Conservative Party from March 2001 for 3 successive Leaders; William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, before being elected as the Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells in 2005.

He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in October 2008, having previously been Shadow Minister for Charities, Social Enterprises and Volunteering. He then took up the position of Minister of State at Communities and Local Government, with responsibilities for Decentralisation and Planning Policy.

Greg was appointed Minister for Cities in July 2011 and Financial Secretary to the Treasury in September

Comments so far include:


“Greg Clark an obvious choice – he pushed through the NPPF”
Colin Wiles

“Interesting. I suppose that they don’t have to worry about vote-chasing for a while, so it’s a good time to confront localism.”
Nathan Drewett

“At last we hoped we might get a new SoS to replace Big Eric, one focussed on solving the housing crisis rather than obsessing about flags, crown green bowls and teaching people how to cook curry.  One from a constituency that doesn’t have the highest proportion of Green Belt countryside in the country and so wouldnt simply spread sprawl everywhere else.   But arrrgh we get Greg Clarke.  How now are senior civil servants to explain to the architect of the NPPf what a total omnishambles it has been with local plans falling ever further out of date, fewer and fewer big sites being allocated and the necessary hard decisions about where to house the 2 million plus overspill from our big cities being kicked ever further into the long grass, with housebuilders racking up permissions and drip feeding completions.  Every prediction that Greg Clarke made about what impact the NPPF would have has been proven untrue, just read his parliamentary speeches.”  A.Lainton

3 responses to “Eric Pickles replaced.

  1. Steve Sawkins

    According to the following report those of us who are concerned that new political appointments could mean a change of direction, can take some comfort from the fact that our MP has historically communicated with the incoming Secretary of State.

    “Meeting with Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
    Minister for Decentralisation & Planning
    Monday 17th October 2011”

    “Statement from Councillor Mrs Pam Challis OBE Leader of the Council
    Rebecca Harris MP very kindly agreed to arrange for a deputation from Castle Point Borough Council to meet with Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Minister for Decentralisation & Planning on Monday 17th October 2011.
    The Delegation comprised myself, Councillor Jeffrey Stanley, Deputy Leader, Councillor Norman Smith, Cabinet Member and Councillor Dick, Chairman of the Development Control Committee, accompanied by the Chief Executive and Head of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods. We were joined by Rebecca Harris MP and two members of her staff.
    I put to the Minister that Castle Point was anxious to put in place a sound plan for its area. We had been working on a Core Strategy since 2005. However at the examination of the Core Strategy, the Planning Inspector indicated that the Council needed more land for housing. Given the small size of the Borough and extent of Green Belt, this had meant sites in the Green Belt had to be considered. This had caused considerable local consternation, and the Council had therefore withdrawn its Core Strategy.
    I then asked if the Minister could clarify the position with regard to national planning policy as it affected Castle Point. At this juncture the Minister stated that currently the Localism Bill is not an Act of Parliament and therefore until this goes through Councils still have to act under the old regime. This has recently been confirmed by the Courts.
    The Minister also made clear that he could not comment on the draft National Planning Policy Framework, since it was currently open for consultation. Furthermore he could not interfere with the judgement of planning inspectors who were independent of Government.
    However, he did stress that the Government is determined to place the preparation of new local plans into the hands of local people and was supportive of the idea of not having too long a forecast but instead having a five year rolling programme. He also emphasised that the Government was determined to ensure there was strong protection for the Green Belt and stressed the allocation of land for housing should start with land of the least environmental quality.
    The Minister made it clear there must be clear evidence underpinning the plan-making process. That evidence should also command a broad measure of local support. He also stated the role of a planning inspector in future would not be to change locally prepared plans but to test the evidence on which those plans have been prepared.
    Finally, the Minister indicated that Government would carefully review comments received regarding the draft National Planning Policy Framework. He pointed out that the Government had consulted early over these proposals in order to ensure that there was a full period for consultation and then for reflection and consideration by ministers. He hoped it would be possible for Government to issue a revised Framework in April 2012, with advice at that time concerning any necessary transitional arrangements.
    As a result of the decision of Council on 27th September to withdraw the Core Strategy and following this meeting with the Planning Minister I now propose to Cabinet that the Council should commence work on a new Local Plan for Castle Point.
    A draft programme for commencement of work on a new Plan is before you. It envisages that work will start on the Plan with all Members of the Council being given the opportunity to review the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Strategic Housing Market Assessment. This will be done through a series of workshops over a number of evenings through November and December.
    During this period I shall also meet with representatives of local community groups which have opposed various proposals in their area, to explain the Council’s programme for future planning policy. Ward Members will also be invited to these meetings
    Once Members have reported back from these workshops to Cabinet in December, a finalised and costed work programme for the preparation of the new Local Plan can be considered. This will include, as the next phase of work, an opportunity for Members and officers to engage with local communities regarding the issues which the new plan should address. This phase of work will last until March 2012.
    In conclusion may I take this opportunity to clarify the current position with Council planning policy. Although the Core Strategy has been withdrawn, the 1998 Local Plan remains in place as adopted Council policy. This shows the Green Belt in Castle Point on the Proposals Map and contains clear policies protecting Green Belt land from inappropriate development”.

    I would have to say that the Rt Hon Greg Clark newly appointed Secretary of State for Communities, being no stranger to our situation, would be disappointed that CPBC has, to-date since 2011, failed to progress its New Local Plan beyond the Draft stage of the process.

  2. Steve Sawkins

    Your communications always conveniently provide access to previously related POSTs . May I strongly advise all readers to revisit these items so as to be able to follow the historical trail via corresponding articles.

  3. Email comment received:

    Everything is a bit confusing now not to say it was not before. The appointment of a new SOS – is that why they were all waiting for to see what happens after the election? The new SOS comes from Middlesborough not sure good or bad really – might want to build more houses up North. The developers have probably timed their appeals right and if the nod is given for all our green belt to be built on – then each and every one councillor and MP Harris would say we tried but a higher power over ruled us keeping their street credibility. The councillors are still bickering and no doubt nothing will be agreed at the first time of asking at important council meetings. Sometimes it gives me a headache. See there is a person in the paper who won’t sell his land worth 265million to him so as to protect the countryside pity he does not live in Castle Point. Task and Finish group must recommence soon – can’t see how that will pan out – if the T and F group turn it down and it goes to full council – as most of the councillors can’t vote probably get pushed through anyway. The end result is I think they will build on Jotmans maybe Glebelands.


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