Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Reflections on 70 Years of Planning

John Dean Memorial Lecture/Young Planners Conference 
John Dean: 8 June 1931 - 2 August 2018

This week I had the honour(?) to chair a couple of major Planning events. A distraction from the day job but you do need to raise your gaze. And to talk to others to know the trends.

Two very senior public sector Planners separately bemoaned to me about the continuing  ‘dismantling’  of Planning with ‘prior approvals’, 'permission in principle’ and even neighbourhood planning dumbing down standards. It was seen as a conspiracy to reduce the status of planning. 

While I also regret these changes I don’t think it is some sort of Government conspiracy. More about trying to create publicity and being seen to do something.

In my opinion such injunctions in the new NPPF related to  design quality, including the curse of value engineering; greater need for Plan justification for removing green belt; and, front loading of viability assessment enhances the role of public sector Planning not diminishes it.

For me on the dark side of Planning, but caring just as passionately as my public sector colleagues, getting approval is harder not easier. With applicant Planning Appeal success down to an all time low of 25%, with even longer wait times for decisions, its even harder. 

The trick is to accept the new reality and move on.

L to R Grant Butterworth, Martin Bradshaw, Sir Peter Soulsby, Alwyne Dean, John Acres, Peter Wilkinson.

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