Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, Report Stage, House of Lords, latest amendments, June 2023

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill acts upon long running asks from councils and the LGA for further devolution in England. We are pleased that the Government has proposed to speed up the process and make good on its commitment to offer all of England the opportunity to benefit from a devolution deal by 2030. It is also important that councils of all sizes are engaged in the devolution process.

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Amendment statements

Amendment relating to National Development Management Policies

After Clause 87, insert the following new Clause— 

“NDMP Statement Sections 85 to 87 may not come into force until a Minister of State has published a statement outlining the position of National Development Management Policies in planning hierarchy and their relationship with other planning documents, including but not limited to the National Planning Policy Framework.”

This means that a Minister must outline the position of the National Development Management Policies within the planning hierarchy and its relationship with other planning documents.

  • The LGA supports this amendment. 
  • It must be clear for local authorities how National Development Management Policies (NDMPs) will be positioned in planning system’s hierarchy of policies. 
  • In our response to a recent Government consultation on reforms to the planning system we highlighted our concerns that, as currently proposed, a determination would be made in favour of the NDMP when there is conflict with the local development plan. 
  • This undermines a local, plan-led system and the Government’s aspiration to empower local leaders and communities. The local development plan is subject to robust and extensive testing during its preparation, which includes a thorough examination process to establish its soundness.
  • The development plan should carry full legal weight and particularly over policies and plans that are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.
  • We are concerned that setting policies at national level will leave councils unable to tailor such policies to local circumstances. Flexibility must be built into the system to enable councils to respond to local, complex and changing circumstances.

Amendment relating to housing need

After Clause 95, insert the following new Clause— 

“Meeting local housing need” - The Secretary of State must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance on local housing need and the Housing Delivery Test require local planning authorities to plan to meet objectively assessed local housing need as defined by the standard method.” 

This amendment aims to reinstate provisions for housing targets.

  • The LGA does not support this amendment. 
  • We welcomed the Government’s proposals in the recent consultation on reforms to national planning policy that whilst housing targets will remain, they will be a provisional starting point with a flexibility to take account of local circumstances. 
  • The algorithms and formulas used by the Standard Method can never be a substitute for local knowledge and decision-making by councils and communities who know their areas best. 
  • We welcomed the proposed removal of the requirement for councils to maintain a rolling 5-year housing supply of deliverable land for housing, where their plan is up to date (i.e. adopted within the past five years). 
  • Removing this requirement will curb speculative development and ‘planning by appeal’, giving greater clarity and confidence for communities in the future development of their local areas, as well as helping councils plan more strategically for local infrastructure requirements.

Contact: Colm Howard-Lloyd, Head of Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement

Email: [email protected]