Communities secretary James Brokenshire has written to Wirral MBC and Thanet DC warning them that Whitehall will intervene over their failure to put local plans in place.
England's 338 planning authorities are required to publish local plans that detail development strategies for their areas.
Mr Brokenshire described Wirral's performance on this issue as ‘lamentable,’ adding:‘In my judgement taking over the preparation of the local plan offers the best prospect of the plan-making process being accelerated and of ensuring that an up-to-date local plan is put in place as soon as possible.'
Thanet last adopted a local plan in 2006 and this covered a period up to 2011.
In his letter to the council, Mr Brokenshire wrote that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government would not take over preparation of the local plan, but the department still planned to intervene.
He wrote: ‘The intervention I have decided upon will provide more certainty and is the best way of ensuring that a Local Plan will be produced in accordance with the Local Development Scheme timetable.'