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Duty to cooperate needs fortification

Words: Laura Edgar
Community / Shutterstock: 144653342

Planning industry professionals have told The Planner that while the duty to cooperate is important, it is failing in its current form.

Although proposals suggesting the strengthening of the duty to cooperate 'are good', the locally-led approach has slowed the plan-making process, while the party manifestos lack propositions for strategic planning.

“We know the plan system is in crisis and part of that is the duty to cooperate. In the absence of regional planning, we need local authorities to talk to each other,” Mark Sitch, senior partner at Barton Willmore, said to The Planner.

Michael Wood, senior planner at Indigo Planning, agreed. The locally led approach has slowed the plan-making process over the past five years with local authorities suffering from budgetary cutbacks. Without regional-based targets, “the duty to cooperate becomes even more critical”, he said.

Roger Tustain, managing director at Nexus Planning, added: “Few would dispute the fact that the duty to cooperate in its current form is failing to deliver on key strategic planning issues.”

Any changes made in the next government, including the introduction of an England Devolution Act, “must include appropriate transitional arrangements to allow the current round of local plans to be put in place”, he added.

A big concern for John Acres, consultant at Turley, is the lack of proposals for strategic planning in any of the party manifestos.

“This big problem in planning is how to plan strategically and the current problems of implementing the duty to cooperate, but no party seems to be addressing it,” he told The Planner.