Local authorities have hit back at communities secretary Sajid Javid after he criticised them for failing to publish a local plan.
In a speech last week Mr Javid identified 15 councils where the government will intervene due to failures to meet planning deadlines.
But the councils hit back, calling the announcement a “disappointment” and saying they had been in open dialogue with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) over the status of their plans.
A spokesperson for Basildon Council, which is led by a coalition including Labour and Ukip, said: “The announcement came as a disappointment to Basildon Council, which has been working hard to progress its local plan and has been in close liaison with officers at the DCLG.
“The plan must achieve a balance between growth on the one hand, while on the other hand protecting the borough against the negative impact of urban sprawl and defending our community spaces”.
Ann O’Byrne, deputy mayor of Labour-led Liverpool Council, said: “It takes some front for a Tory government to criticise councils for not doing enough on housing. From Right to Buy through to Help to Buy, the Tories’ forays into housing policy have served to make the problem of both the supply and affordability of housing even worse.
“By making unjustified threats to local councils today, Sajid Javid is simply throwing up a smokescreen to cover a major U-turn.”
David Carr, leader of City of York Council which is led by a coalition of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, said it has to wait until after a Ministry of Defence announcement on the future of three large sites to progress its plan, which does not conclude until January.
He added: “We have been in continual dialogue with the DCLG throughout the plan-making process, and understood that our proposal to submit a plan for inspection in May was acknowledged as the fastest timeframe for a plan to be delivered in line with government rules.
“We are seeking a meeting with the secretary of state at the earliest opportunity, to explain how York is committed to submitting a plan in May.”
A spokesperson for Bolsover District Council and a spokesperson for North East Derbyshire District Council both said the councils had been in dialogue with government over the delivery of their plans.
A DCLG spokesperson declined to comment further.
The 15 local planning authorities identified were Basildon, Brentwood, Bolsover, Calderdale, Castle Point, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Mansfield, North East Derbyshire, Northumberland, Runnymede, St Albans, Thanet, Wirral and York.