Government 'actively considering LPEG recommendations on definitive five-year land supply'

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell has said that the government is 'actively considering' measures recommended by the Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) to ensure that, once a council's five-year housing supply has been established, it is treated as definitive for a set period of time.

Parliament: Neighbourhood Planning Bill moves to Lords
Parliament: Neighbourhood Planning Bill moves to Lords

Speaking during the third reading of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill in the House of Commons yesterday, Barwell accepted the general thrust of a series of amendments to the bill proposed by Conservative MPs.

Barwell said that a written ministerial statement yesterday would address many of the issues which the amendments sought to tackle.

Sir Oliver Letwin, one of the signatories to the amendments, said he believed that the written ministerial statement would "do the trick that we were trying to perform".

Summing up at the end of the debate, Barwell said that one area the proposed amendments had "touched on was whether, once a five-year land supply has been established, there should be a period that it holds for."

He said that the LPEG "made some very interesting recommendations in that area".

"We will look at them as part of the White Paper, so I can reassure him that the government are actively considering that issue and will return to it".

The LPEG report proposed that the housing requirement adopted in a local plan "is treated as the definitive basis for the calculation for a period of at least three years commencing at the date at which the inspector concluded that the housing requirement was sound".

Elsewhere, Barwell said that an amendment which sought to insert a clause to allow the recovery of costs in defending appeals in cases where an application is contrary to a neighbourhood plan "raises issues that it may be of interest to explore further".

Speaking in favour of the clause, Antoinette Sandbach MP said that such "speculative appeals impact on local council resources, and developers constantly feel that they can effectively try to push and break the plan, and it is deeply frustrating".

Barwell said that, "in relation to award of costs in the appeals system, we can look at what more we can do to ensure that only appeals that have a legitimate chance of success go forward to the inspectorate".

Barwell also pledged to insert into the Bill in the House of Lords, measures to ensure that parish councils and neighbourhood forums are told if there is a planning application in their area. At present, the minister said, they have a right to request information, but they are not necessarily told.

The amendments were withdrawn on the minister's assurances. The Neighbourhood Planning Bill now moves to the House of Lords.

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