Threat of ‘planning vacuum’ in England

By staff

England is at risk of a “planning vacuum” after regional planning is dismantled, an influential committee of MPs has said.

The communities and local government committee warned plans to abolish regional spatial planning strategies could have severe social and political repercussions.

“We did not pass judgment on the merits of regional spatial strategies, but we are concerned about the hiatus created by their intended abolition,” said committee chair Clive Betts.

“This is giving rise to an inertia that is likely to hinder development.”

The lack of a development strategy was hindering “controversial and emotive” projects, such as waste disposal sites or sites for gypsies, both of which are traditionally victims of ‘nimbyism’.

“It will also make it more difficult to ensure that our national need for new housing is met,” Mr Betts warned.

MPs also raised concerns that “under-resourced and under-skilled” local planning authorities were being dumped with too many responsibilities after local development plans were all-but ignored.