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Regional strategy to be abolished

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced plans for the scrapping of the top-down approach to regional strategies for construction and development.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles announced this week that the DCLG is to rethink its approach to planning, with the east of England to become the first region to officially do away with its regional strategy for housing.

He claimed that the introduction of this initiative has had little success in recent years, with the running of the scheme coinciding with the lowest levels of housing development across the UK since the depression of the 1920s.

"Regional planning built nothing but resentment," Mr Pickles commented.

"This is the next stage in the abolition of the whole tier of regional government in east England. We are devolving power from unelected regional quangos down to elected local councils and to local communities."

In recent years, officials in Westminster have been responsible for planning decisions across all areas of England, but from January 3rd these responsibilities are to be devolved to local councils and authorities in order to place local communities at the heart of planning.

It is hoped that this move will facilitate an upturn in house building in those areas where demand for new homes is greatest.

Earlier this month, the DCLG unveiled a significant new fund that is to be focused on infrastructure investment across the UK over the coming years.

A total of £420 million is to be injected into regional development plans, with the fund to build on a former commitment of £500 million that was made earlier in the coalition's time in government.

Mr Pickles commented at the time: "We know that new infrastructure is one of the most important ways to get the economy going again, support new homes and create long-term jobs and growth." 

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