Devolution deals hand North East greater planning powers

Two devolution deals for the North East of England have been signed which will include strategic planning powers and the power for new elected mayors to create development corporations to drive forward regeneration projects.

Newcastle: city could benefit from greater strategic planning powers (pic Hubert Chunghao Chao via Flickr)
Newcastle: city could benefit from greater strategic planning powers (pic Hubert Chunghao Chao via Flickr)

The move will see powers handed over from central government to the North East Combined Authority and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

The deals, which provide for the transfer of significant powers for employment and skills, transport, planning and investment from central government, will also see the regions elect mayors in 2017.

A statement from the North East Combined Authority said that its deal represented "a major change to the way in which decisions will be made in the future about transport, investment, funding, skills training, business support, housing and strategic planning."

It said it would also see an "ambitious target to increase the number of new homes in the region".

"This will include the creation of a North East Land Board to identify potentially suitable locations for housing or economic development and the devolution of some statutory planning powers."

The body was contacted for more detail on this but it had not responded at the time of publication.

A Tees Valley Combined Authority devolution deal document said that its deal would see the government give the region's new mayor the power "to create democratically controlled Mayoral Development Corporations as envisaged by the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill."

"This new corporation will seek to prioritise economic development and housing on under-developed land within the Tees Valley. Government and Tees Valley will establish a land commission to examine what publicly owned land and other key strategic sites could be vested in the development corporation."

It also said that central government would work with Tees Valley local authorities "to explore what additional planning powers and responsibilities would support their development ambitions. Increases in the value of the land as a result of the work of the development corporation will be reinvested in the corporation to deliver new schemes."

The North East Combined Authority represents Durham County Council, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority represents Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton and Redcar councils.

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