Ministers agree to council demands on housing targets and business rates

Government Ministers have agreed to implement demands put forward by Conservative councillors.

Back in the summer 2009, South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative Cabinet used the Sustainable Communities Act to call on the previous government to scrap the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and its 32,800 housing target for the district, as well as for small business rate relief to be paid automatically.

However, whilst the previous government sat on the proposals, the Coalition Government has confirmed to the council that both demands will now be implemented through the recently-published Localism Bill, saying:

“We agree with Hampshire County Council and South Gloucestershire Council that Regional Strategies should be removed – and we will do just that in our Localism Bill.”


“The Government will, through the Localism Bill, remove the legal requirement for authorities to submit an application form in order to claim Small Business Rate Relief.”

Welcoming the news, Cllr Brian Allinson, Conservative cabinet member for planning said:

“At 32,800 more homes, the previous Labour government’s Regional Spatial Strategy was proposing a damaging level of development across the district and so I am delighted that the new Secretary of State has included our proposal to scrap these plans once and for all in the Localism Bill.

The council’s Core Strategy – which all three parties on the council have helped draw up – proposes a much lower level of additional housing, which we think better reflects local need.”

Cllr John Godwin, Conservative cabinet member for economic development, added:

“Business rates are the third largest cost to small firms, after salaries and rent, but despite the council’s efforts to promote the rate relief that is available, we suspect that many small businesses in the area are still not claiming it.”

“In the current financial climate, we are really pleased that Ministers have confirmed that they will implement our Sustainable Communities Act proposal to make the payment of small business rate relief automatic.”

More info: Sustainable Communities Act 2007 – Decisions on proposals submitted following the 2008 invitation (Department for Communities and Local Government) [PDF, 525KB]

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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