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Regional Planning

Volume 558: debated on Thursday 14 February 2013

I am today announcing the coalition Government’s decision to revoke the regional strategy for the south-east of England. This decision follows an assessment as outlined in the written ministerial statement of 25 July 2012, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WS66-68. The order to effect this decision will be laid shortly after recess under the negative resolution procedure.

The decision to revoke the regional strategy for the south-east signals a significant step for localism. When the order comes into force, it will mean that development plans across the former south-east government office region will comprise local plans, and where they exist, neighbourhood plans. Localised planning enables councils to make the development choices that work for them; choices that are right for their communities and respond to the needs of the local area rather than to arbitrary top-down targets. This presents a far better deal for local people.

The Government have decided to revoke the regional strategy for the south-east, with the exception of policy NRM6 on the Thames basin heaths special protection area. We are also retaining Oxfordshire structure plan policy H2 concerning the Upper Heyford RAF base. The reasons for the decision to retain these policies and to revoke all other parts of the regional strategy and saved structure plan policies, will be set out in a post-adoption statement, which will be published on the Department’s website and placed in the Library of the House once the revocation order has been laid in Parliament.

Further announcements on the remaining regional strategies will be made in due course.