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Column 23rd May 2018

This planning review's everything we've said for years

It is not often that the Campaign Group can support any planning review but the Raynsford Review, initiated by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), appears to make sense.

The Review began in spring 2017 and has now produced an Interim Report on which comments can be made via the TCPA.

One extract from the executive summary seems to reflect everything we have been saying for years.

“If there is one striking conclusion to be drawn from the work of the Raynsford Review to date, it is that the current planning system in England does not work effectively in the long-term public interest of communities or the nation.

“Putting this right requires … a clear acknowledgement that the system needs to work in the interests of all.

“It should not be a system designed for the convenience of those who administer it, although it should be efficient and effective. Neither can it be a system which operates simply in the interests of the private sector, or one dominated by any particular vested interest.

“It must strike a balanced settlement in which the development needs of our communities are met in the most sustainable ways, and in which all parts of the community have a real voice in the decision-making process.”

When the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP launched the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2011, he said that the Government reforms to planning policy had three fundamental objectives:

“1. To put unprecedented power in the hands of communities to shape the places in which they live;

“2. To better support growth to give the next generation the chance that our generation has had to have a decent home, and to allow the jobs to be created on which our prosperity depends; and

“3. To ensure that the places we cherish - our countryside, towns and cities - are bequeathed to the next generation in a better condition than they are now.”

Since then the condition of our community has deteriorated, thousands of homes are being built but little, if any, infrastructure has appeared and what does exist can’t cope with the increase in population.

As Rt Hon Nick Raynsford says:

“The planning system is no longer capable of shaping the places we need to secure people’s long-term health and wellbeing. We need a new approach with people at the heart of decisions and system which meet the growing challenges of housing affordability, climate change and economic transformation.”


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