The eight English regional assemblies that are responsible for housing and planning are to be scrapped and their powers handed to unelected quangos. The Times

Local government minister John Healey yesterday announced end of the assemblies, set up by Labour in 1998 and made up of councillors and industry representatives.

The assemblies have blocked several housing developments in the east and the south-east.

Keith Mitchell, chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly, described the move as transferring powers to ‘a quango of yes-men’.