Of course now this is all up in the air. With the new coalition Government, Eric Pickles has said councils will now be given the freedom to make their own decisions about planning and would not be “bossed around” by regional quangos.
In the Queen’s speech, the government announced its intention to introduce legislation to abolish regional strategies, which contain centrally imposed building targets.
In 2007, the previous government announced a target of building an extra three million homes in England by 2020 to deal with the growing demand for houses. This led to the creation of regional strategies for each of England’s nine regions, outlining targets for a 15 to 20-year period. As we've seen that has meant 2,000 more in Stroud District and hence the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. See previous summary re this area under key issues point one here.
Mr Pickles has told councils they now have the freedom to regard the commitment to end regional plans and housing targets as a material planning consideration in any decisions they are currently making on building in their area. Of course we don't now really know what that will mean....Stroud has not completed it's replacement of the Local Plan so this could open the door to all sorts of problems. Some commentators are understandably concerned that this will mean we cannot respond to housing needs - see here.
It seems to me that some initial work has been done including consultation with residents on suitable sites for housing, it would be foolish to throw all that out. In the coming weeks we will be exploring what all this means to Stroud.
Council housing threat
Meanwhile there is also some bad news re Council housing - already in short supply it now faces cuts - see here and here. I hope the mistakes of past will not be repeated - we need more social housing and it is a pity more incentives are not being put forward for that.