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AM’s report highlights ineffective planning regime in Wales

Words: Roger Milne
Wales / Shutterstock_164056865

Parts of the planning system in Wales are ineffective, fail to connect with communities and are weak on enforcement, AMs on the Welsh Assembly Senedd’s Public Accounts Committee have concluded.

Under-resourcing was partly to blame, but so was the failure of planning authorities to collaborate and merge functions, decided the committee.

The AMs made eight recommendations, most of which would involve the Planning Officers Society for Wales.

The committee recommended that ministers should use their powers under the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 to ensure that local planning authorities (LPAs) “collaborate and merge to improve resilience and build capacity.”

The committee wants national performance indicators reviewed and new measures for judging the impact of planning on improving wellbeing in communities and people.

It calls for new approaches on engagement that reflect 21st century communications. It also wants a stronger regime for how developers consult with communities before applying for major developments.

The committee contended that so-called placemaking and place plans should be statutory.

The AMs want s106 agreements strengthened with improved estimates of building costs and called for the introduction of a tranche system for s106 agreement payments.

Under this system, developers would be required to pay a third of the agreed sum at the point when planning permission is given, a third when site development begins and the final third when the site is fully developed.

The committee also recommended that the government should commission research into the use of s106 agreements, which would determine whether developer contributions were realised.

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