The Raynsford Review of Planning – is a radical new planning system on the horizon?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

June saw the publication of the interim report from former Labour Housing and Planning Minister Nick Raynsford’s planning review. He has had some forthright things to say about the state of planning in England, talking of “deeply demoralised” staff who work in a system where “there’s an overwhelming sense it’s not delivering”. He went on to say that there has long been a groundswell of dissatisfaction amongst planners, developers and communities about how the current system operates.

Planning has become a hot topic, especially amongst local communities where many are actively involved in the development of their Neighbourhood Plan, or dealing with residential planning issues.

 
The aims of the Raynsford Review

 
This review had been set up to identify how the government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes, while still encouraging the production of new homes in line with the government’s ambitious target.

The review was established with the following three objectives:

  • Engage constructively with politicians, communities and all those interested in the built environment about how to deliver better placemaking through a fairer and more effective planning system
  • Produce a solution-focused report that sets out a blueprint for a new planning system in England
  • Set out a new vision for planning in England and rebuild trust in the planning process.

To quote from the report, any robust planning system “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. This will always be hard to achieve; but, while a perfect system may be beyond our reach, a much improved one is not”.

The document identifies nine propositions:

  • Planning in the public interest
  • Planning with a purpose
  • A powerful, people-centred planning system
  • A new covenant for community participation
  • A new commitment to meeting people’s basic needs
  • Simplified planning law
  • Alignment between the agencies of English planning
  • A fairer way to share land value
  • A new kind of creative and visionary planner

Salvatore Amico, our Head of Town and Country Planning, would support any measures that would make the current planning system quicker and more streamlined:

“These nine propositions are the basis for a conversation about the future of planning in England, but the final report, due to be published later this year, has the ambitious aim of offering a lasting settlement around a new planning system.

No-one would argue that mistrust of the planning system in England has become an issue, especially among local communities. The interim review makes some interesting points and suggests some useful measures. For example, one welcome change is the simplification of the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 regimes. 

At present, it’s still an interim report and does not yet have firm conclusions or recommendations – those will come in the autumn. It will be interesting to see how radical the final report is”.

 

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