The UK General Election - 4th July 2024

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West Midlands Mayor should have greater control over local planning, PLMR polling finds

Sam Pugh

Account Director

Research by PLMR finds that over 1 in 2 people in the West Midlands believe that Metro Mayors should have greater control over local planning policy.

Research into attitudes towards local planning policy in the West Midlands has found the public supports handing greater control over to elected Metro Mayors – powers which currently lie with local authorities.

With incumbent Andy Street seeking to retain the Mayoralty on 2nd May, the research suggests there is a strong appetite for enhancing the powers of the elected Mayor of the West Midlands. The research also reveals that support for giving Mayors greater responsibility for planning was higher in the region (53%) than compared with the national trend (49%).

Meanwhile, the study by Savanta for PLMR’s specialist Built Environment practice, which surveyed 209 people in the region as part of a national study of over 2,300 adults, found a split in whether the public has faith in their local authority to deliver the housing that the region needs. 41% said they have faith in their local authority, while 39% did not.

PLMR’s research also found a majority of people would favour development on greenbelt land if this meant that more affordable housing and job opportunities would be created. Almost half of respondents (47%) also said they were not familiar with the Local Development Framework, known as a Local Plan, for their area.

Will Savage, Board Director at PLMR, said:

“Pressures on local authorities and their planning departments are at an all-time high. Acute housing shortages, a challenging recruitment market, and growing interest in the region by investors are all compounding these pressures. It is no surprise that, at a time when the public demand local government does more to tackle housing shortages, there is a desire for change among voters.

“With the Mayor of the West Midlands now an established role within the local political landscape, it is clear that the public sees shifting greater responsibility for planning into their remit as an option to address these challenges. The rollout of the ‘trailblazer’ devolution deal to the West Midlands Combined Authority similarly demonstrates the recognition of the strategic value that the elected Mayor brings to the region.

“With housing a key issue in the upcoming local and mayoral elections, our research shows that voters want to see change in the way that planning in the region is approached and resourced. By doing so, many hope that this will help to unlock more housing and commercial opportunities across the region.”

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