Government urged to rethink controversial planning reforms

Council directors have called on the government to think again over plans to reform the planning system in England.

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has warned that the proposals are ‘lacking in vital detail’.

In its submission to the government consultation on the plans, ADEPT said the proposed reforms risks ‘exacerbating inequalities in different areas of the country through skewing the process to favour high value areas’.

In addition, it says these inequalities are likely to be compounded by imposing a national, top-down approach that does not reflect the local social, economic, environmental and financial challenges faced by local areas.

The government’s planning reforms have faced heavy criticism from Conservative MPs and the Local Government Association (LGA).

Although last month (October), the housing minister Christopher Pincher has defended the government’s controversial proposals, which he said would bring about ‘systemic and cultural change’.

A copy of ADEPT’s full response is available here.

‘The pandemic is bringing communities closer to their local places,’ said ADEPT president, Nigel Riglar.

‘They want to see more attention given to green spaces, biodiversity and tackling climate change. They want their places to become healthier, more inclusive and resilient. And, most importantly, they want to have their say, not only on the principles of development through local and neighbourhood plans, but also on individual schemes.

‘As it stands, the white paper risks losing local accountability, reducing the influence of communities and their democratically elected representatives through increased deregulation,’ added Mr Riglar.

‘We believe a major reform of the planning system is overdue and presents a valuable opportunity to truly plan for the future through creating a collaborative approach. ADEPT wants to work with government to ensure a new, simplified planning system that will enable local democratic involvement, has a climate focus and will support levelling-up across the country.’

Photo Credit – StartUpStockPhotos (Pixabay)

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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