Headlines: January 15th, 2010

More local control over planning is included in new arrangements to drive regeneration in London and Thurrock Thames Gateways and West Northamptonshire after a review of Urban Development Corporations. The changes aim to provide stronger partnerships between Government and local authorities.

Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, which is dealing with several large regeneration projects, is to be incorporated into the Homes and Community Agency. The London Thames Gateway Corporation will continue in its present form until after the 2012 Olympics and will concentrate increasingly on regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley. At the same time the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney are being asked to submit proposals for a new planning regime for the Valley. The two Riverside boroughs of Havering and Barking and Dagenham will also be asked to put forward a new planning regime for their areas.

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, which supports regeneration in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester, will in future concentrate the delivery of key projects and will work more closely with partners. The Corporation will return planning responsibilities to the local authorities. It is currently responsible for applications for 50 or more homes and most proposals for the centre of Northampton but from April next year it will concentrate on applications for schemes of 200 homes or more and major commercial developments across the area.

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, said it was keen to work with all three of the Urban Development Companies in order to ensure the most appropriate capacity was available to help local partners to deliver.