A tumultuous year ends. Authority after authority in the south east, or the Rest of the South East, as we used to call it before regional planning so as to exclude London, is pausing or going slow with its local plan, given the signals from Government that authorities will soon find it easier to decide not to plan to meet their local housing needs. (It’s not just in the south east I know but I desperately needed to make the Elvis Costello pun work).
In terms of policy, nothing yet has changed at all. But the excuses are already being found.
Planning Resource for instance reported on 19 December 2022 that:
- Horsham District Council has delayed its cabinet meeting to consider its proposed Regulation 19 consultation draft plan from 15 December 2022.
- Mole Valley District Council has paused preparation of its new local plan/
- The Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils have announced an 11 month delay to the preparation of their emerging joint local plan
And this was before Michael Gove’s 22 December 2022 announcements as to proposed reforms to national planning policy that I blogged about that day (and which we will be discussing on clubhouse at 4 pm, 4 January – tune in to blow those cobwebs away! Join via this link – do RSVP in the link and get it in your diaries).
Someone please post some stats, I can’t immediately find them in my post-Christmas haze, but these delays have of course been building up over the year. Back on 2 September 2022 Planning Resource was reporting on the 19 authorities that have withdrawn or delayed local plans in the past year . Before that on 26 April 2022 Lichfields were reporting on 11 authorities that had either stalled, delayed or withdrawn their local plans. Go back even further to my 12 February 2022 blog post, Local Plan Breaking.
No doubt we will see over the course of 2023 how all this plays out in the light of the two successive waves of changes to the NPPF that we have now been told to expect.
It’s also been a good year for the bloggers and podcasters. Shout outs to Zack the Planorak, Nicola the Gooch, Sam 50 Shades Stafford, Raj Compulsory Reading Gupta and to my colleagues responsible for the Planning Law (With Chickens) podcasts (Victoria McKeegan, Nikita Sellers and Meeta Kaur). You all keep me on my toes and occasionally wondering what I have to add. But in any event thank you everyone for continuing to read and engage – sitting down every week for an hour or two to do these notes to self remains the only way I can hope to keep track for myself of what is happening and for people to find this occasionally useful or entertaining is always an unexpected bonus..
These were my most-read posts of 2022:
- New NE Nutrient Neutrality & Recreational Impact Restrictions (+ DEFRA Nature Recovery Green Paper) (18 March 2022)
- Running Down That Hillside (2 November 2022)
- EZ Does It: Charter Cities, Freeports, Development Corporations (30 July 2022)
- Local Plan Breaking (12 February 2022)
- It Will Soon Be Christmas & We Really Don’t Have To Rush To Conclusions On This New NPPF Consultation Draft (22 December 2022)
Looking back, these were the posts that pretty much wrote themselves in reaction to what was happening all around us: the neutralities issues, the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hillside, the bizarre happenings within that brief Truss premiership, the local plan making crisis and of course the Government’s planning reform agenda. In fact, at the foot of this post there is a table of month by month views of the blog since it started in June 2016. Views have been dependent not on any writing quality but on subject matter (oh, and the lockdowns certainly helped).
I’m sure there will be plenty of planning law to write about next year, all of it as yet unplanned.
Healthy new year all. And in the wise words of Elvis Costello: Get Happy.
Simon Ricketts. 31 December 2022
Personal views, et cetera