The lack of a cross sector consensus is damaging the planning system

An incoming Government must immediately seek to re-build a cross sector consensus on the core objectives of the planning process, if it is to remedy the current weak position of the British planning system a new report has found.

The Future of Planning and Place-making, produced by campaigning group the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) with support from Barratt Developments plc and Shulmans LLP, found that the deregulation of the planning system has created a stark disparity between those in the private sector who welcomed several aspects of the reform packages, and those in the public sector and some communities which did not.

The report which was launched at the TCPA’s Spring Conference More Homes, Better Places, also found that there was a cross sector concern about the severe lack of resources within the local Government planning service, as well as an acknowledgement that planning is now at its most deregulated state since 1947.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA said:

“While the planning system in England has undergone a period of significant deregulation, there have been limited attempts to command a consensus between the public, private and voluntary sectors. This ongoing deregulation and lack of consensus coupled with an acute shortage of resource within the planning services have left planning at a historically low ebb, and there are genuine concerns for the future of the planning system.”

“With the 2015 General Election rapidly approaching, now is the time to take stock of the planning system and work to ensure that good planning and place making is firmly on the agenda of the new Government in May.”

Philip Barnes, Group Land and Planning Director at Barratt Developments said:

“Barratt has been pleased to both support and participate in this important initiative. We feel sure it will usefully contribute to the important debate about how we create great places in the future.”

Amanda Beresford, Partner and Head of Planning at Shulmans LLP said:

“The way the planning system functions has a critical impact on the success of the economy and people’s daily lives in terms of homes, jobs, transport and the environment. It is vitally important that the planning system is placed high on the agenda of the new government and that the right decisions about how it operates are taken. Shulmans are therefore pleased to have supported the production of this report to help inform the future decision makers.’’

The Future of Planning and Place-making report was produced as part of the Association’s pan European SPECIAL project focusing on spatial planning for the deployment of local energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Drawing on feedback from over 100 participants in six cross sector roundtable debates held winter 2014/15, as well as extensive feedback from the wider planning and development profession, the report seeks to address issues that are crucial for the future of planning and place-making.

This includes eight recommendations for a new Government which is intended to serve as a catalyst to spur politicians, decision-makers planners and other professional to work towards creating a fairer and more efficient planning system, that can deliver the energy efficient, low carbon, inclusive communities of the future.

Kate Henderson added:

“Good planning enables economic growth, helps us to meet local housing needs, promotes a low carbon economy and addresses the challenges of climate change. Reforming the UK’s planning system to make it more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and promoting sustainable growth has always been at the centre of TCPA’s mission, and whatever the future holds for planning, we will seek to influence the debate and forge effective solutions that deliver a fairer and better future for all.”