By Daniel Hunter

More power is to be transferred to local people in Yorkshire and the Humber when the area’s regional strategy becomes the latest to be formally abolished, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today (Tuesday).

The top-down approach of regional strategies from the last administration imposed centrally set building targets on communities and coincided with the lowest peacetime levels of housebuilding since the 1920s.

Planning and housebuilding works best when it is locally led and people have more control in shaping and deciding on development in the places they live. From 22 February 2013 councils and local people across the former government office region for Yorkshire and Humber will once again have this control after an order to abolish the strategy was laid in Parliament today.

The abolition of this regional strategy reinforces the importance of the Local Plan, produced with the involvement of local communities, as the keystone of the planning system. It is this approach that will help deliver the homes, jobs and infrastructure we need.

As the City of York does not currently have a Local Plan in place with defined green belt boundaries, the York green belt policies that are part of the regional strategy will be retained. The coalition government is determined to protect the green belt and safeguard our natural and cultural heritage.

“The flawed top-down targets of regional planning built nothing but resentment," Eric Pickles said.

“By giving people the ability to shape the places in which they live, development happens by consensus not conflict.

“The abolition of this regional strategy is another important step in devolving power from unelected quangos back to communities and elected councils across both Yorkshire and Humber.”

The government made clear its commitment to return decision-making on housing and planning to local councils and to end the era of centrally imposed targets that build resentment to development. We are introducing powerful incentives to ensure communities benefit from development.

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