The recent BBC article which focuses on Mr Pickle’s and Mr Clark’s proposed changes to the planning system marks the beginning of the controversy around new planning legislation which the current government are trying to promote. One of the main areas for concern with the forthcoming legislation is that the Draft Policy Framework which reduces 1000 pages of policy to 52 pages. In order for this to be effective it involves much more general guidance, which may lead to vast inconsistencies in decisions. As the amount of guidance is reduced this can lead to planners interpretations, rather than policies and facts. It is my experience that providing more subjectivity to planning professionals can, and does, lead to vast inconsistencies across council areas, which provides another obstacle to planning reform, and to fulfil the wider aims to streamline the planning system.
The article also focuses on MP’s concerns of the lack of housing, and the crisis that surrounds it, yet by removing the tier of Regional Planning Policy Guidance and the regional housing targets, this essentially removed one of the main drivers behind development, which encouraged housing growth, particularly in the absence of a replacement policy for the past 12 months.
The news of the planning reforms has started debates amongst columnists and professionals alike. As the planning system reforms it yet remains unclear as to the outcome, and how these central government policies changes will actually effect planning at ground level.