Monday, 8 December 2014

A CURATE'S EGG

I was recently asked by the local RICS to give a talk on a year in planning. As it was in the evening and in a restaurant I obviously threw in some wilder comments to keep the audience awake, but because it counted as an hour’s CPD I thought I should the subject justice.

For a Year in Planning or so, I focused on what I see as the two good areas and two bad ones for Planning in this time. Hence I have called it a curate’s egg.


Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones"; Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!" "True Humility" by George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 9 November 1895.

Good

1.   The introduction of the clear, comprehensive, simplified and accessible national policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012 and the subsequent more detailed work on particular topics in the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) in March 2014 has been the big planning plus by this Government.

2.   Locally for Leicester, the Mayor’s drive to connect disparate parts of the City together with clear and substantial investment (gleaned from a wide variety of sources) in both the public realm and public buildings is fantastic. The City should benefit for decades to come.

Bad

1.   The abolishment of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) by this Government has dramatically reduced the ability of many Councils to properly assess and then effectively respond to their “objectively assessed housing need,” as defined in the NPPF. This has led to the delay or postponement of many Council’s Local Plans.

2.   The plethora of constantly changing secondary legislation, such as G.D.O. permitted development rights and the Use Classes Order with a variety of consent regimes. It is now so complicated that no practitioner, however switched on, is confident of his knowledge of the whole regulatory framework.

So there you have it: a curate’s egg!

Peter Wilkinson


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