As the Localism Bill goes to its committee stage in the Lords, lobbying continues for amendments to the draft legislation. The Institute for Government and Centre for Cities have published a joint report Big shot or long shot? How elected mayors can help drive economic growth in England's cities advocating greater planning powers for elected mayors.
The report calls for amendments to the Bill, or secondary legislation flowing from it, to enable elected mayors to ensure that the core strategy of the LDF is a broad strategic spatial plan for their areas, looking beyond administrative boundaries; and for mayors (rather than planning committees) to be able to take decisions relating to policy and planning applications for developments of strategic significance (major infrastructure projects or major housing developments) which have an impact on economic growth and employment. So, once again, we see the use of planning powers perceived as essential to delivering future economic growth.
The report also suggests that elected mayors should co-chair their LEPs and goes even further to promote the idea of "metro mayors" who would have authority over areas wider than their city boundaries to extend to fit natural economic boundaries, with similar extended powers, looking to the London Mayoral model.
We shall watch with interest whether the Lords in their considerations take on these suggestions.