SEC Responds to DLUHC’s Local Plans Consultation

Thursday, 19 October, 2023

South East Councils (SEC) has responded to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) consultation:

“Plan-making reforms: consultation on implementation”.

The consultation considers the Department’s proposals to make local plans (and minerals and waste plans) simpler, faster to prepare, and more accessible.

SEC Chair Cllr Nick Adams-King said:

“Local Plans are an essential part of local democracy, serving as a living vision and guide for place progress in the eyes of local communities.

This submission reflects the often overlooked and incredible expertise and innovation already being achieved by Local Planning Authorities.

SEC members broadly agree with the principles of speedier plan-making, the importance of engaging local communities, and can appreciate the value in technological progress and digitalisation.

However, given the language used around proposed reforms to plan-making, many of our members hold a healthy level of scepticism that proposals in theory will actually deliver in practice.

It is critical that reform genuinely improves plan-making and to do so requires an accurate understanding of why plan-making can take longer than may be desired.

It must be appreciated that many of the factors that delay Local Plans are outside of the control of Local Planning Authorities – including repeated delays and changes at the ministerial level.

Funding must match ambition to ensure capacity both at the level of the Planning Inspectorate as well as local authorities.

Nevertheless, there remains significant room for improvement on all sides as is evidenced by the wealth of proposals and insights from members of South East Councils in our submission.”

Our full response to this consultation can be accessed here.