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Government re-thinks part of Localism Bill

The Government will look again at the Localism Bill in a bid to strengthen rules that would see authorities work together across council boundaries on planning decisions

During the bill’s 14th committee sitting earlier this week, decentralisation minister Greg Clark (pictured) agreed he would re-think a policy which requires local authorities to work together across council boundaries.

Clark’s u-turn followed repeated calls from industry professionals who had raised concern over the void left by regional-level planning’s abolition.

He said: ‘I accept the thrust of much of what has been said about the duty to co-operate, so I undertake to return during the Bill’s passage with a set of government amendments with the objective of achieving as much consensus as possible.’

The Labour MP spearheading the Opposition’s handling of the Bill’s planning elements welcomed the announcement.

Shadow local government minister Jack Dromey said: ‘We will judge their proposals on the basis of whether they will produce a 21st century planning system that can deliver on those issues that require strategic planning.’

He added that the Government had pledged to consider Labour’s suggestion of giving the proposed National Planning Policy Framework a statutory basis and to ‘put sustainable development at the heart of the planning system’.

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