As the White Paper recognises, planning is important. What we build and where we build it affects our health and well-being as well as the natural environment and climate change. It is therefore vital the system can support the creation of high quality and affordable places. It is also vital that the system gives local communities real power over the decisions that affect them most.
The White Paper states the reforms attempt to rebuild trust in the planning system and promote good design. While these aspirations are important, we are concerned that they are not supported by the specific proposals set out in the White Paper. Instead, the specific proposals focus on streamlining processes and removing key opportunities for participation like the right to be heard in person at planning inquires.
Taken as whole, therefore, the TCPA does not support the direction of travel set out in White Paper which we believe would be both disruptive and threaten the core public interest objectives of the system. We also note that proposal would be implemented in the context of the continued expansion of permitted development, which undermines both local democracy and basic housing standards.
The TCPA have also published ‘Common Ground’ – an alternative vision for planning reform, available here.