Responding to new amendments in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, Cllr Gillian Brown, Planning and Growth Lead Member for the District Councils’ Network (DCN), said: “The District Councils Network (DCN) has concerns around New Clause 5 which would give the Secretary of State powers to intervene and ask a county council to prepare or revise existing Local Plans.
“County councils are not planning authorities and, therefore, do not have the planning expertise required to discharge this proposed function – which could lead to increased delays in the overall Local Plan process, in direct contrast to the Government intention.
“Additionally, the financial costs of preparing Local Plans are significant and this proposal could lead to further additional costs which would adversely impact on the existing planning capacity of district councils.
“District councils have made significant progress with plan-making, and getting plans in place requires significant time, effort and expenditure.
“The DCN recognises that there are still some districts who are yet to agree a Local Plan and would recommend that peer support from districts that have successfully adopted a Local Plan could be requested by the Secretary of State, to fulfil the need for adopted plans across the country.
“The Government should also look to implement the recommendations of the Local Plans Expert Group which made a number of suggestions in relation to local plans, which the DCN would support.”
For further information please see: DCN Second Reading Briefing on Neighbourhood Planning Bill