Councils could co-operate over house-building in central Lancashire

The target for the number of new homes which the government says have to be built in the coming years could eventually be shared by councils across central Lancashire.

Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 6:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th August 2018, 2:36 pm
Chorley - along with Preston and South Ribble councils - could work together to meet government housing targets.

Currently, individual local authorities in the area are each given a figure which they are expected to meet every year.

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But now Preston City Council, Chorley Council and South Ribble Borough Council could be poised to pool their targets as part of a plan for closer co-operation between the three authorities - although no decision will be taken until the government publishes new totals in November.

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Papers to be presented to a joint committee meeting of the councils next week reveal work is underway to reach an agreement on “a redistribution of the housing requirement” in central parts of the county. Each authority would have to give the go-ahead to any change.

The councils have been working together for several years to develop cross-border policies on other planning issues, such as the provision of affordable homes and open spaces.

A government consultation last year on meeting the country’s housing needs encouraged greater co-operation between local authorities.

The then Communities and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, told Parliament: “To the frustration of town planners, local communities are much more fluid than local authority boundaries.

“Talking to the people who live in these kind of communities, it’s clear that they get frustrated by plans being based on lines on a map rather than day-to-day, real-life experience,” Mr Javid said in September 2017.

He then gave councils twelve months to come up with ways of working more closely together - but the proposal put forward in central Lancashire goes “a step further” than the minimum required by the government.

Preston, Chorley and South Ribble are already aiming to produce a joint local plan for the three districts.

That will identify potential sites for development in central Lancashire and the public has recently been asked for its opinion on land which may be suitable. The consultation is open until 9th November.

Previously, each council area produced its own local plan, which had to go before an inspector at separate hearings.

The new arrangements will reduce the “significant” cost of the process, next week’s meeting will be told.