Posted by: Adam Roake | November 10, 2010

CALA 2, Eric Pickles 0

Congratulations to Peter Village QC for winning hands down and getting Regional Spatial Strategies reinstated.

The full text is here, if you’re interested, but what does it mean?

In the short term it means that the Development Plan on which any planning application should be assessed, must once again include the adopted RSS, where it exists. So Mr Pickles’ purported revocation from July is pretty well meaningless, which is embarrassing but probably no more than that. In the medium term, the Localism Bill is shortly to be published and will presumably propose the revocation of the relevant sections of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.  There is therefore a limited window in which the housing targets in the RSS can be relied upon. What will be interesting to find out is what obligations the Localism Bill intends to place on Local Authorities to establish the “correct” housing requirement for their area.

Pickles tried to simply delete RSSs and the housing targets they included in the summer. The Localism Bill should succeed in that job in a legal way. However it must surely also put some alternative in place, albeit determined at a local level, which will enable planning decision makers to decide whether housing providers are meeting or exceeding a local housing requirement. Somewhere, somehow there will need to be be an assessment of how much housing a district requiresand we are promised that if Local Authorities don’t rise to that challenge, then there will be a general presumption in favour of sustainable development. On that basis I suspect Bob Neill is probably right and “this judgement changes very little”!



  1. It is nice to see that our first thoughts, immediately after Eric Pickles had ‘spoken’, that he can’t just remove RSSs at the wave of his wand, have proved to be correct.

    Like you I can’t wait to learn exactly what a presumption in favour of sustainable development will actually mean. It will also be interesting (actually vital) whether the requirement to identify need will remain. I can’t help thinking that there is a contradiction between the ‘presumption in favour’ and the commumnity having a greater say in what gets developed, and feel that a lot of people will end up dissapointed one way or another.

    Steven Boxall
    Regeneration X

  2. […] the on-going shenanigans from Mr Pickles over Regional Spatial Strategies (see here) would indicate a government that’s chaotic, in the sense they don’t know how to go about their […]

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