As we now approach the final stages of localism, the pressure is mounting within both the public and private sector in terms of viewing the potential impact of the Bill. Questions regarding neighbourhood plans, how the government will incentivise the councils to develop, and what exactly constitutes as ‘sustainable development’, will shortly be answered.
During the final consideration of the Bill in the Commons, Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark insisted there was now considerable political consensus over much of the legislation.
He told the Commons, which approved all the most recent Lords amendments:
“It is important to say that we want to see more planning, not less.
We feel that over time the imposition from above has stood in the way of local communities expressing their own vision of the future of their community. That is what we want to give them a greater chance to do.
At the heart of that is the need to achieve sustainable development. Section 39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 provides a duty on those preparing local plans to do so with the aim of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.
Amendment 370 extends that principle to neighbourhood planning, with an explicit condition that it should contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The duty to co-operate will require that public bodies should co-operate effectively on sustainable development.”
With the anticipated date of an April 2012 release, developers, planners and architects are looking to see its potential impact.