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Neighbourhood Plans

Volume 617: debated on Monday 28 November 2016

The Government are committed to neighbourhood planning, which enables communities to shape the development and growth of their local areas in a positive manner. The Neighbourhood Planning Bill will further strengthen and future-proof the process, while ensuring that communities have the support that they need.

Well-supported neighbourhood plans and agreed local plans are critical to good local planning and housing. How does the Secretary of State aim to hold to account councils that fail to deliver agreed and well-supported local plans by early 2017, and those that fail to support and encourage neighbourhood plans and hence the right mix of local housing?

We expect all authorities to have a plan in place and to keep their plan up to date. We have put that requirement beyond doubt by legislating for it in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. My hon. Friend’s local council, Eastleigh Borough Council, has not taken the issue seriously and has let down local residents. She is right to stand up for her constituents. Her council should follow her example.

Is the Secretary of State aware that, as part of the neighbourhood plan for Hexthorpe in my constituency, a selective licensing system was introduced for private landlords, which reduced all types of antisocial behaviour by between 20% and 45%? Will he look at how those schemes can be extended? Will he also look at how the planning process can be modified to allow councils to make quicker decisions about houses in multiple occupation, which can often be linked to antisocial behaviour?

The right hon. Lady makes a good point. We should always be looking at what more can be done to combat antisocial behaviour. She has raised an excellent example. I was not aware of it but, now that she has raised it, I will take a closer look to see whether we can extend it.