Back in July 2015 the planning minister at the time Brandon Lewis set a deadline for local plan by local authorities production of ‘early 2017’, with the indication that if this wasn’t met then the
government would intervene to speed up the process, this stance was reconfirmed by the now current planning minister Gavin Barwell in October 2016. When the Housing White Paper was released in February 2017 there was no specific reference made to this deadline.
This now appears to be less certain. At the Mipim property fair in France the current planning minister Gavin Barwell indicated that the Government is not likely to become directly involved in the plan making process especially when the planning system is likely to change in the future. These changes to the planning system involve the standardising of the methodology for assessing housing need and revisions to the NPPF.
The reason being that, any intervention the Government instigated without first going to consultation on the proposed changes above, would mean the creation of local plans that need immediate updating thereby further prolonging the process. However intervention was not totally ruled out with the planning minister identifying that if needed then intervention could still occur, the specific criteria which constitute need for intervention were not discussed.
From recent experience with the production of the Housing White Paper, when the proposed changes above will be implemented are some time away and may even be delayed. For all the planning ministers commitment to ensure that across the country there is total plan coverage without the possibility of intervention Councils experiencing difficulties will be left without outside help. It may be some time yet before the country has up to date Local Plans.