Speaking yesterday during a communities and local government select committee session, housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell said the action plans [arising from a new housing delivery test as set out in the Housing White Paper] would give councils an opportunity "to set out why it thinks it is not delivering the required level of housing, and set out what action it can take, or what support it needs to get delivery up to the required level".
Barwell indicated that the action plans would require town halls to "provide a diagnosis of what the problem is" so that the government can "work with local authorities" to resolve those issues. In some instances, he said, housebuilding could be being held back by "quite minor things", such as a key piece of infrastructure that has not been delivered by the government or a utilities firm.
Barwell told the committee that it had been the government's intention, once policy had been set through the revised National Planning Policy Framework - which had been due later this year - "to hold policy constant for a period of time and focus on place-based intervention". This, he said, "would involve us going to particular communities, and sitting down with the political leadership and major developers, and saying, 'What's the problem?'"
Barwell added that, before the announcement of the June general election, the government had planned to publish indicative housing delivery test data this summer, and in November publish the first set of data that authorities would be judged on.
John Silvester, the POS Communications Manager, said Barwell had heralded these statements at the recent joint POS/BPF planning conference.
Gavin Barwell at the POS/BPF planning conference on 29th March