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Paper 5 - 28 March 2003 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

28 March 2003

COMMUNITIES PLAN

Report by the Policy Manager

RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.

INTRODUCTION

1. The LGA briefing on "Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future" (also known as the Communities Plan) is given in the Annex.

2. The Communities Plan makes a range of proposals which cover the changes to the planning system, tackling housing shortages in the south and revitalising communities in the north and midlands. It sets out a wide ranging agenda aimed at ensuring that decent, affordable homes are genuinely available for all within reach of work leisure and social facilities: objectives that have been at the heart of local government concern for many years.

3. The proposals are far reaching and member authorities will be considering the many implications for their areas. This briefing is provided as an important background to today’s agenda on housing and planning.

LGA RESPONSE

4. The Local Government Association (LGA) has worked with the government to set this agenda and believes the plan to be a helpful co-ordinated approach with money to match. However, sustainable development, housing growth and renewal must be driven from below, not imposed from the top.

5. One concern is that some of the proposals on planning and the allocation of housing resources could result in un-elected regional government quangos overriding local choice. Another concern focuses on the implied compulsion that authorities should separate their strategic and landlord functions and consider only a limited number of stock investment options, regardless of the wishes of their tenants. The LGA also believes that implementation must not concentrate solely on housing at the expense of economic and social renewal.

CONCLUSION

6. The fact that much of the housing growth in the South East is scheduled to take place elsewhere does not reduce the pressures on member authorities to tackle the problems of housing supply, especially affordable and key worker housing, in our area. Changes to the planning system will make it more than ever necessary for member authorities to work together to look after the interests of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in this field. The separate report by the Planning Officers Group has recommendations about this which if members agree will form a key part of the Association's action plan for the future.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 12 March 2003
Annex: 1- www.lga.gov.uk/Documents/Circular/2003/51_03.pdf (second page of document onwards)  
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiow@eastleigh.gov.uk

Last update: 18/03/2003
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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