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Pickles announces planning reform

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced plans to grant London Boroughs greater control over major local planning decisions in the future.

Pickles said the reforms, which will form part of the Localism Bill, will pave the way for further devolution for London Boroughs to “make sure decisions reflect local priorities including more decisions on planning being put into the hands of locally-elected London leaders.”

Pickles also confirmed the devolution of executive powers over housing investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to the Greater London Authority (GLA).

He also announced the abolition of the London Development Agency (LDA), with its city-wide roles on regeneration and management of European funding also transferred to the GLA.

Under the proposals, the mayor of London will only consider the “largest planning applications in future” and will inherit new powers to create mayoral development corporations to “focus regeneration where it’s needed most”.

The government’s decision to devolve power in local planning was welcomed by London Councils chair mayor Jules Pipe.

She said: “London’s boroughs will be pleased that the government has listened to their calls that the power to make crucial decisions should be devolved from quangos and central government to boroughs and the mayor.”

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