In January, CLG issued a consultation paper entitled Building more homes on brownfield land. The paper comes on the back of the summer announcement that the Government expects to see local development orders in place for homes on more than 90 per cent of brownfield land (as defined in the NPPF) suitable for new housing by 2020. This would apply to those brownfield sites which could support at least five new homes.

While recent changes to permitted development rights, and new initiatives such as vacant building credit, will go some way towards encouraging the reuse of land, more is still needed if housing delivery is to increase to the level needed.

Planning legislation already provides for local authorities to be designated as under-performing based on the speed and quality of their planning decisions, and current proposals would add a further limb to those criteria. Not only would the target of 90 per cent coverage with local development orders by 2020 have to be met, but authorities would have to meet reporting requirements and show evidence that the objectives have been met. As with the current legislation, designation would mean that planning applications could be made directly to the Secretary of State, although CLG is also considering removing the option for authorities to claim a five year land supply if the local development order target had not been met.

By way of intermediate target, CLG proposes to assess authorities against a 2017 target of getting local development orders in place for 50 per cent of their brownfield land suitable for housing. Designations would then be made annually.

CLG also reports in the consultation paper that the current designation process is reaping rewards, with improvements being made in the time taken for determining applications for major development.

Representations can be made until 11 March.