As you may be aware the new coalition government are proposing to abolish the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and encourage Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in their place. As their name suggests, these new bodies are proposed as a partnership between local authorities and businesses to provide leadership on a number of key issues including housing and planning. At a recent meeting held with officials it is clear that CLG and BIS currently envisage that such partnerships will emerge over time and may well be set up differently in different areas. However, in order to be accepted by government they will require true business involvement and represent realistic economic geography. It is also expected that they will have to address housing issues associated with economic growth.
We therefore believe that the housebuilding industry has a vital role to play in these partnerships either as partners themselves or in providing evidence and information to other partners at appropriate times.
We have, therefore, written the attached letter to all County and District Council Chief Executives asking how they intend to involve the industry in the LEP process. We would also encourage you to be prepared to either be contacted by, or to get directly involved with, these emerging partnerships. The move towards localism and local decision making suggests that LEPs will become both influential and powerful over time and it is important that we engage with this emerging process as early as possible. Obviously with the potential for many different approaches to emerge it is difficult for us to advise you on what might be expected of business involvement but, again, this is likely to become clearer over time.
I am happy to discuss the implications of the letter with you should you require further clarification or assistance with this current government initiative.