The last paragraph, if it comes to pass, should be used as the text that consigns the Pickles period at DCLG to local government’s version of room 101.
Remember, he was the one who so enthusiastically consigned regional spatial strategies (RSS) and more importantly, the housing numbers they contained, to the dustbin.
Of course good old Eric didn’t do it off his own back, he’s not that spatial. He was reacting to the whinging and whining he’d heard at successive party conferences, from grass roots Conservatives complaining about Labour’s top down regional planning system as a part of a wider discontent with regional government.
There was however a crucial difference between regional government and regional planning. Regional government and the assemblies they spawned, were a government driven initiative, with zero support at the local level.
Although the same could be said of the planning policies and housing numbers contained in the RSS for each of the eight regions, there was a crucial and significant difference. RSS were based on data and information provided councils because the regional governments only had small policy teams And could never have done the work for themselves.
This meant that those councillors that were complaining about the top down housing number being ‘imposed’ on them, were actually complaining about their own data in a different format.
So now, instead of having regional government telling us to do what we already know needs doing, Westminster going to be doing it, ironic or what?
Greater Manchester’s controversial green belt plans could be substantially scaled back in the face of furious opposition, the M.E.N. has learned, in signs of growing concerns within the region’s ‘super-council’.
Consultation on the 20-year masterplan – officially called the spatial framework and drawn up by then region’s ten council leaders- closes on Monday. There’s been fierce criticism of the plan from campaigners, MPs and mayoral candidates.
It proposes building on a string of protected green sites, arguing that without doing so, the region will not be able to meet its housing and employment targets.
The plan has sparked uproar and Labour mayoral candidate Andy Burnham – whose backing would be needed should he win in May – joined a string of other MPs in vocally criticising it, arguing the scale of green belt development proposed was ‘unfair and disproportionate’. He called for it to be ‘radically’ rewritten.
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