Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is scrapping Regional Strategies and their centrally imposed building targets that failed to increase housebuilding.
Regional targets intended to build 3 million homes nationally by 2020 were put in place by the previous Government despite fears that they would force councils to cut into the Greenbelt. However, the reality is that construction has slowed down so much the country is facing the lowest peacetime housebuilding rates since 1924.
An order laid in parliament today will revoke Regional Strategies with immediate effect. Councils will now have the freedom to prepare their local plans without having to follow top-down targets from regional quangos and bureaucrats that prescribe exactly what, where and when to build.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:
"Communities will no longer have to endure the previous government's failed Soviet tractor style top-down planning targets - they were a terrible, expensive, time-consuming way to impose house building and worst of all threatened the destruction of the Green Belt.
"Today I'm revoking regional plans with immediate effect - hammering another nail in the coffin of unwanted and an unaccountable regional bureaucracy."
"I promised to get rid of them and today I'm revoking regional plans with immediate effect - hammering another nail in the coffin of unwanted and an unaccountable regional bureaucracy. They were a national disaster that robbed local people of their democratic voice, alienating them and entrenching opposition against new development.
"Regional Strategies built nothing but resentment - we want to build houses. So instead we will introduce powerful new incentives for local people so they support the construction of new homes in the right places and receive direct rewards from the proceeds of growth to improve their local area."
Mr Pickles also pledged that direct and substantial benefits for councils who support construction would be the centrepiece of this radical restoration of local power. The money will be used to help ensure more new homes are built for local people, and matched with more new jobs and investment.
From today, power will be handed back to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning that can get the country building again. Communities will, once again, be able to solve local housing challenges in a way that makes sense for them. In return councils will be offered powerful new incentives that ensure they benefit from development they welcome.