Amendment achieved as Localism Bill voted through
The Liberal Democrat Party has secured a crucial amendment for the Localism Bill to force ministers to define ‘sustainable development’ as it was voted through the Commons.
MPs voted by 300 to 216 in favour of the Bill, which gives councils the power to end tenancies for life for new social tenants and more control over planning matters.
The Bill will now go before the House of Lords.
In a debate for the report stage of the bill in the Commons, decentralisation minister Greg Clark agreed to produce a definition of ‘sustainable development’ in planning policy through the new national planning policy framework.
The government intends to introduce a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ as set out in the Conservative Party’s 2010 Green Paper Open Source Planning which local authorities will have to adhere to when making planning decisions.
Mr Clark said: ‘At this stage all I would say on sustainable development is that the government have no issue or disagreement with the classic definitions of it. The Brundtland definition, that development undertaken by this generation should not compromise the ability of future generations to live their lives, has stood the test of time and is very clear.’
MP Annette Brooks, who put forward the amendment, said: ‘Wherever that definition falls, it has to be in such a form that it can be developed downwards and interpreted by local communities, but also, in a sense, developed upwards within the national planning policy framework.’
Mr Clark also promised to strengthen the duty to cooperate on planning issues so that it includes the Homes and Communities Agency, transport bodies, the Mayor of London and Natural England.
He also promised to raise the minimum number of people required to discuss local planning decisions in a neighbourhood forum from three to 21.
But Dr Hugh Ellis, chief planner from the Town and Country Planning Association, said: ‘Quite apart from the level of confusion which fast-moving changes to the planning system are creating, there is increasing concern that, taken as a whole, the new planning system will not be able to deliver the kind of highly-quality housing or low-carbon economy that the nation desperately needs.’
The Localism Bill was voted through in the Commons yesterday (Wednesday)..