Headlines: November 30th, 2006



Local authority leaders have stressed that councils need to be free to lead the management of local housing developments and that they must be given the right tools to meet the housing needs of their people. The statement came from the Local Government Association in response to reforms to the planning system set out by Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, who said they would help local authorities deliver more and better homes.

The reforms will mean local authorities ensuring they are getting the right mix of homes and meeting the needs of all of their community. They will need to be sure that enough family homes are being built and for the first time, they will have the responsibility of ensuring that the housing needs of children are fulfilled. New developments will also have to take account of the need to cut carbon emissions and to move towards zero carbon development. Authorities will have to ensure they identify appropriate sites for new homes with a continuing focus on brownfield sites but they will have more flexibility to determine how and where new homes are built.

Responding to the publication of Planning Policy Statement Number 3, Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association Environment board, said local councils were committed to creating places where people could thrive. “If we are to continue to do this government must provide councils with the right tools to meet the housing needs of local people, be they single people, couples or families. Only councils are able to make the necessary links between housing needs, employment opportunities, transport provision, education, health and community facilities to make sure the right kind of homes are provided in locations where people want to live, work and raise their families,” Councillor Bettison said.

The final Planning Policy Statement did contain some positive measures, he said, the LGA welcomed the fact that the Government had taken a necessary step in the right direction, particularly with the emphasis on better quality design, the mix of homes that helped to meet the needs of families and on local flexibility to make sure developments remained sustainable into the future.