By Booth Philip
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Extra resources for Controlling Development: Certainty, Discretion And Accountability (Natural and Built Environment Series, 9)
This was particularly vexatious for local authorities in 34 BRITAIN the case of housing land. Because of the pressure from housebuilders, under the Labour government in the late 1970s, local authorities had already been required to identify a rolling supply of housing land in agreement with developers and landowners, quite apart from the normal process of land allocation in development plans. What value could such a process have now, they asked, if they were also to grant permission for land not part of the rolling programme?
Ostensibly it brings development control decisions much closer to the committed policy in the plan. Yet this is in no sense a return to a zoning system, because the reference to other material considerations remains. In reaching decisions, local authorities would still have to weigh plan policy against the circumstances of place and time and the particular characteristics of the proposed development. Nevertheless, the interpretation that has gained ground is that it represents an important shift of policy.
Both functions were combined in dealing with the parliamentary procedure for enclosures. Their relevance to planning, which essentially concerned local issues, was already apparent to the originators of the 1909 Act. Since 1947 the inquiry has been used as a way both of adjudicating between local authorities and applicants in cases of appeal and informing the Secretary of State in those cases in which the decision is called in. By implication it has had a key role in requiring local authorities to account for and justify their decisionmaking.
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