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“No consensus about purpose of planning”, says Ellis

Words: Laura Edgar
Mayoral elections in England / Shutterstock_225476584

At a conference in London launching its new report, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) today warned that “the lack of a cross-sector consensus is damaging the planning system”.

The Future Of Planning And Place-making (pdf) urges the incoming government to “rebuild a cross-sector consensus on the core objectives of the planning process” in order to remedy the “current weak position of the British planning system”.

Speaking at the TCPA Spring Conference ‘More Homes, Better Places’, Dr Hugh Ellis, TCPA head of policy, stated when discussing the report: “There is no consensus about the purpose of planning. You cannot get two or three people to agree on what it is for.”

The report, produced with the support of 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,” explained the TCPA.

The report also discusses the fact that “the resourcing of the planning service has reached a critical level”, said Ellis.

“The costs have reached such a level in the planning service that actually it has a massive impact on delivery because the resources are not there,” he added.

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.”