Tuesday 14 September 2010
Communities and Local Government
Proposed development north of Holt Avenue (Adel, Leeds)
The Petition of residents of Adel and Wharfedale, the surrounding area, and others,
Declares that the petitioners have serious concerns about the previous Government's overly ambitious targets for housing; and further declares that the petitioners believe that these targets will lead to unwanted developments—for example, the proposed development for the land north of Holt Avenue in Adel.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to use all his powers to review the previous Government's targets for housing.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Greg Mulholland, Official Report, 6 July 2010; Vol. 513, c. 343.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
On 6 July 2010 the Secretary of State confirmed that Regional Strategies will be revoked. In the longer term the legal basis for Regional Strategies will be abolished through the “Localism Bill” that we are introducing in the current parliamentary session.
Leeds City Council is now responsible for establishing the right level of local housing provision in its area and identifying a long-term supply of housing land without the burden of regional housing targets. Authorities can decide to retain or to review the housing targets previously set out in the Regional Strategies. Leeds City Council agreed provisionally at Executive Board on 21 July 2010 to use a lower annual housing figure as set out in the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy. Decisions on progressing specific sites in its saved Development Plan and how to take these forward in a local spatial plan are of course matters for Leeds City Council and the local community.
New ways for local authorities to address strategic planning and infrastructure issues based on co-operation are being introduced. One step is that on 9 August the Housing Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), confirmed that councils who take action now to give planning consent and support the construction of new homes where they are needed and wanted will receive direct and substantial benefit for their actions. He urged councils to open up an honest and direct debate with the communities they serve about the benefits of building new homes in their area—how they can reap the benefits of development and not just the costs.
Local authorities should continue to collect and use reliable information to justify their housing supply policies and defend them at examination. They should do this in line with Government policy in Planning Policy Document No. 3 (PPS3). The abolition of Regional Strategies allows the council to review the housing numbers in its Local Development Framework Core Strategy before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The council will also be able to make decisions on planning applications for housing in the context of its reviewed targets, working with local communities, and if they go for growth now, will be able to reap the rewards. I believe this is a big step in decentralising power over housing and development back to local people, communities and local councils.