Pickles makes a first move on The Core Strategy

June 1, 2010 by  

I have asked RDC for a legal opinion on the following letter.

What legal status does this letter have to determine a course of action by a Planning Authority? 

Or is it only an informative?

Sent to all Chief Planners on 27 May 2010 by The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government


I am writing to you today to highlight our commitment in the coalition agreements where we very clearly set out our intention to rapidly abolish Regional Strategies and return decision making powers on housing and planning to local councils. Consequently, decisions on housing supply (including the provision of travellers sites) will rest with Local Planning Authorities without the framework of regional numbers and plans.

I will make a formal announcement on this matter soon. However, I expect Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Inspectorate to have regard to this letter as a material planning consideration in any decisions they are currently taking.

PLEASE SEE THE COMMENTS BELOW from The Planning Officers Society

The Planning Officers Society (POS) has criticised the letter. President David Hackforth expressed “Great disappointment that the government has taken this step without proper transition and with no provision for strategic planning.”

John Silvester, spokesperson for the Society added: “In determining planning applications until such time as extant RSSs are formally expunged from the record then they stand as prevailing policy. Furthermore, the evidence  on which they are based remains valid and ought to be taken into consideration.”

The view of The Rochford Independent is that developers will be seeking a Judicial Review on any Decision on Appeal made by the Secretary of State until the Bill goes through Parliament. 

The Secretary of State might consider making this Law instead by a PPS or PPG but again expect legal challenges until a Bill is made in Parliament.

So when is the Bill on Decentralisation and Local Government going to be tabled?  Which Parliamentary Year and Session?



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