In his annual Mansion House speech on 13 June, chancellor George Osborne announced proposals to require local authorities to earmark brownfield sites for housing development and ease planning restrictions at these sites using local development orders (LDOs).
"Councils will be required to put local development orders on over 90% of brownfield sites that are suitable for housing", said Osborne. "This urban planning revolution will mean that in effect development on these sites will be pre-approved – local authorities will be able to specify the type of housing, not whether there is housing."
According to a Planning Magazine report, DCLG chief planner Steve Quartermain has said that local authorities are best placed to decide which local sites should be subject to LDOs.
"The chancellor made it very clear that it's something local authorities will lead on", said Quartermain according to the report. "They already know what land they have." A DCLG spokeswoman, also quoted in the report, confirmed: "It is for local authorities to determine what areas are best for their houses."
Following the reported DCLG comments, planning minister Nick Boles was asked last week in the House of Commons "how local people will be involved in deciding which sites should be included in [LDOs]".
"I am grateful for the opportunity to confirm that [LDOs] absolutely will not undermine localism, as LDOs have to go through the same local consultation as any other planning permission," said Boles.
"The fundamental difference with LDOs is that the local council effectively determines up front the broad parameters of development that will be acceptable," said the minister. "It's absolutely something that is driven locally and led by local councils."