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One-in-Six English Councils to See Their Planning Powers Limited

Around 50 local authorities in England will have their planning powers curtailed after failing to meet the government’s housing delivery target test, with the worst performers in the South East.

The government introduced the test in 2018 to check whether councils are building enough homes to meet local need and help hit its central target of 300,000 new homes annually by the mid-2020s.

From the 51 local planning authorities (LPAs) in England that delivered less than 75% of their housing requirement in the three years to March 2021, these LPAs now face presumption in favour of sustainable development, a policy that approves any development unless its adverse impacts "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh their benefits. Consequently, these areas face having less sway over planning decisions moving forward.

The worst performing council was Southend-on-Sea, which has delivered just 31% of homes required since 2018-19. The authority delivered 947 homes compared to a target of 3,041, the figures showed.

Other poorly performing councils were all in the South East of England. Eastbourne delivered 32% of its target, while Epping Forest, Epsom & Ewell, and Worthing councils all built 35% of homes expected.

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