Secretary of state says that the bill will be introduced to parliament within “days”

Eric Pickles said on Tuesday that the Local Government and Decentralisation Bill will be introduced in the “next few days”, it has emerged.

The communities secretary said that the controversial bill would be out earlier than expected at a Federation of Small Businesses dinner earlier this week, according to observers.

The bill had been expected before parliament at the end of the month.

On Wednesday a High Court ruled that Pickles’ scrapping of the Regional Spacial Strategies, which set housebuilding targets, was unlawful.

The case had been brought by Cala Homes, who argued that the decision was beyond the secretary of state’s powers and had thrown many housebuilders’ plans into chaos by removing the planning basis for many developments.

The ruling effectively reinstated the housebuilding targets set by the spacial strategies, but the Localism Bill would remove them again, giving housebuilders a window to submit schemes under the previous targets.

On Wednesday, communities minister Bob Neill said: “This judgement changes very little. Later this month we will be introducing the Localism Bill to parliament, which will sweep away the controversial regional strategies. The Government remains firmly resolved to scrap this layer of confusing red tape. Instead, we will work with local communities to build more homes. This was a commitment made in the coalition agreement and in the general election manifestoes of both coalition parties. We intend to deliver on it.”

Planners estimate that it will take around 12 months to push the Localism Bill into law from when it is introduced.