Residents concerned with matters surrounding the Green Belt and the Castle Point Local Plan2016 may be interested to note the latest plan-making amendments being introduced that may, or may not affect us locally.
Planning minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed a slew of government amendments on plan-making will be introduced.
The amendments will see more collaboration to address issues that require solutions across geographical boundaries, keeping plan making at the lowest level of government possible. We will do that by enabling the Secretary of State to direct two or more authorities to work together to produce a joint development plan document where that would ensure effective local planning in an area, for example, to address housing needs.
The amendments will see plans made at the lowest level of government, keeping things local where possible, by enabling the Secretary of State to invite a county council in a two-tier area to prepare or advise on a local plan where a district council has not done so.
Barwell stressed that the county council power was “not something I would anticipate using regularly, but if you look at the parts of the country in which there has been a struggle to produce local plans, it is often because you have two or three districts where land use is heavily constrained, because large amounts of the land are green belt or protected in some other shape or form.
“Hypothetically, there may be cases in which having a county council look across the county and ask, ‘Where in the county could the housing need go’ might be a way to deal with it.”
The minister insisted that he had no wish “to be the person writing plans for local communities. As the minister, my job is to say to local councils, ‘It’s your job to produce the vision and aspiration for the area.’ I have one role in the process, which is to say, ‘I’m not going to let you duck the tough choices.’”