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RTPI on Govt response to No Stone Unturned

19 March 2013

Trudi ElliottThe Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) welcomes the Government's renewed focus on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as key bodies tasked with coordinating growth over larger than local areas, contained in the Treasury-published response to Lord Heseltine's No Stone Unturned. The response echoes much of what the RTPI said in July 2012 about LEPs.

Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: "We welcome the recognition by Government that strategic planning is necessary over areas wider than single local authorities. We stress however that strategic economic planning needs to be consistent with the joint strategic planning for housing including market housing to be carried out by local authorities.

We also welcome the creation of single pots for economic development spending. Centralised micro-management of numerous spending programmes is not helpful for planners, the professionals charged with drawing together infrastructure investment to make places work and grow."

RTPI July 2012 on LEPs

In our evidence to evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Local Growth, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Enterprise Zones the RTPI said:

  • Whitehall must recognise that LEPs and Local Planning Authorities should work more closely together to support local economies;
  • LEPs should be required to cooperate with LPAs in delivering spatial planning and economic development policies and programmes; and,
  • Local Authorities must work more closely with local communities and local business.

Govt reponse to No Stone Unturned

 The wide ranging response by Government to No Stone Unturned includes the following elements:

 "Local authorities will:

• use these new levers to enable them to prioritise growth alongside service delivery;

• support the LEP(s) they are part of, and demonstrate their commitment to making collective strategic decisions, including delivering the agreed investment plans and delivering efficiencies;

• pool strategic economic development spend and functions, and support LEPs in securing match funding for EU SI Funds;

• co-ordinate land use planning functions and align adopted local plans, including the use of Local Development Orders, across local authorities in a LEP area;

• manage and account for the localised funds through binding and long lived decision making structures such as a joint leaders committee as a minimum, or combined authority (preferable), or other similar arrangement." (para 2.14 page 39)

 The allocation of the Single Local Growth Fund and any flexibilities will be through a process of negotiation. Negotiations will include consideration of a number of criteria including,  "the strength of plans for effective pooling of economic development spend and functions across the LEP area, including the degree to which these funds will be revolving, what private sector leverage has also been secured and whether there is a co-ordinated approach to strategic spatial planning."(Box 2 E, page 46)

"At Autumn Statement 2012, the Government announced that LEPs will be expected to develop a strategic growth plan consistent with national priorities. In developing the plans, LEPs and local authority members will be expected to work with all relevant local partners, including the local chambers of commerce, other business bodies and the wider business community." (paragraph 2.31 page 44)