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TCPA warn planning system could soon be lost

Words: Laura Edgar

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has warned that “consistent deregulation and demoralisation” of the planning system is putting England’s towns, cities and countryside at risk.

‘Building the Future’ - the TCPA’s pre-election manifesto, argues that there is a danger that the planning system, which the group says is “essential to the maintenance and well-being of the country”, will soon be lost.

TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson explained: “At its best, planning has proved to be a powerful tool to bring forward sustainable growth, and to deliver multiple benefits to our society including certainty and confidence for businesses, democratic rights for communities and protection for our environment, heritage and biodiversity.

“As we continue to battle with the nation’s housing crisis, good planning is needed as never before to plan for and create the homes and communities we desperately need.

“However, the planning system as we knew it is being continually undermined and devalued though significant reforms and deregulation. Planning has lost all sense of the progressive social values that once lay at its core and, unless we are careful, is at risk of being destroyed altogether.”

The manifesto, the TCPA says, calls for the new government to act in the first 100 days to restore the importance of planning as a tool to deliver new homes and communities. It suggests creating a legally defined purpose for planning based on sustainable development, updating the New Towns legislation so it can be used effectively and “changing the National Planning Policy Framework to place social justice, equality and climate change at the heart of planning decisions.”

Henderson added that the new government must restore the prominence of planning as an “essential element to create new homes, communities and infrastructure the nation so desperately needs”.