Michael Fabricant has welcomed the letter he has received from Secretary of State Eric Pickles today revoking the Regional Strategy for the West Midlands. “This now empowers local district councils, such as Lichfield and Tamworth, to determine our own local housing needs taking into account natural population growth and our local economic plan” Michael says.
“Previously, this housing plan was imposed on us by the Region based in Birmingham with instructions to build tens of thousands of homes in the most inappropriate and damaging areas. The decision makers were unaccountable whereas now it will be local councillors, elected every 4 years, who will make these decisions with local knowledge of the area that will be affected. This, in turn, gives real power to local residents to decide where these houses should be built. These top-down plans were neither democratic nor effective: fewer houses were built at any time in peace since the 1920s.”
In the Parliamentary Statement attached to the letter, Baroness Hanham, the minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government says: “This completes the abolition of every Regional Strategy in England… ushering in a new era of true localism across England. This is a milestone moment for planning and localism in this country. From now on, every local community in England will have more control over local planning and development. The top-down approach… from the last Administration imposed centrally set building targets on communities and coincided with the lowest peace-time levels of house building since the 1920s.
“The abolition of these unpopular and counter-productive Regional Strategies reinforces the importance of councils’ Local Plans produced with the involvement of local communities, as the keystone of the planning system.”
Michael adds: “This puts real trust in local Councils to make the decisions they need instead of unknown bureaucrats dictating policy down to places like Lichfield.”
Photo shows Eric Pickles’ letter dated 27 March.