The Localism Bill which is currently being considered by the CLG Select Committee includes a new ‘duty to co-operate’ in relation to the preparation of Local Development Frameworks (clause 90 of the Bill). This new duty is intended to be wide ranging but has a particular focus on the provision of strategic infrastructure. The intention is that the principles outlined in the ‘Open Source Planning’ document will be incorporated into the Localism Bill and associated regulations etc.
However there is no explicit reference to the proposal for upper-tier authorities, including County Councils, which are responsible for infrastructure such as waste, roads etc to compile infrastructure plans (although this had been recommended in page 3 of Open Source Planning). Strengthening the arrangements around the duty to co-operate and ensuring a clear purpose around which LPA’s should co-operate would be a helpful approach.
The County Council’s suggestion is that the duty to co-operate as proposed should be amended to include a specific requirement for more co-operation around strategic infrastructure assessment and that upper tier authorities can play a key role working with local authorities and LEP’s in this regard, similar to that suggested in the Planning Officers Society’s written evidence to the Public Bill’s Committee.