The Best Laid Plans House magazine20 march 33


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Mid Term Review of government planning policies.

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The Best Laid Plans House magazine20 march 33

  1. 1. Alister Scott is Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance at the The best r e v i e w Birmingham School of the laid plans Built Environment T he Government’s agenda for P o l i c y: planning is predicated on delivering economic growth. Despite this prevailing ambition, the cumulative impact of the National Can the UK build its way out of its economic Infrastructure Plan 2011, Localism Act 2011, National Planning Policy Framework troubles? Three experts take a look at the (NPPF) 2012 and Growth and Infrastructure Bill (GIB) 2012, raises key questions as to Government’s plans for infrastructure whether vital components of the growth agenda are missing and the extent to which Collectively, this moving escalator generates resultant policy vacuum has led to many they are generating the long-term certainty uncertainty for planners and developers alike, local authorities being reluctant to that is now needed. raising important social justice concerns. accommodate neighbouring authorities’ Recent Government pronouncements Uncertainty is also evident within the housing requirements, particularly where display a tension between economic NPPF target for local authorities to have green belt extensions are necessary. Thus, growth and opposing environmental and an approved local plan by April 2013. An new housing proposals are significantly community interests. All three are integral approved plan creates a statutory framework below what is required, with no strategic to securing growth and, by focusing on for long term investment decisions. oversight to identify optimum sites or any one in isolation as plans are prepared, However some 52% of local authorities solutions for development. policy disintegration and opposition will not have such plan in place, leading to Uncertainty is the enemy of good may be created. By investing in up-front opportunistic applications seeking approvals planning and long-term economic and inclusive approaches, using impact based on meeting sustainable development growth. The current policy direction is assessments correctly to identify needs, arguments. This short-term and spatially- leading to uncertain, opportunistic and benefits and alternatives, the polarisation biased opportunism counters good planning disintegrative planning predicated on that characterises current debates such as practice which uses agreed plans as the basis growth, growth and growth. Far better HS2 can be reduced. Thus process should for making long-term decisions for an area we change course to more strategic, pro- become a key ingredient in building a more in the public interest. active and inclusive planning to secure and resilient development jigsaw. Uncertainty is also evident with maximise economic, environmental and In England the ‘slimline’ NPPF purports the abolition of regional planning. The community benefits. to set development priorities for the country, empowering planners and elected members to translate generic policies into plans and decisions, although it is crucially lacking any spatial component. Yet since its launch in March 2012 there have been incremental additions: the Taylor review of planning guidance; housing extensions; and conversions from business to residential use. Furthermore, the GIB has provisions to take some planning decisions away from local authority control, reduce agreed affordable housing quotas and remove agreements to provide community infrastructure. Investing in up-front and inclusive approaches can help minimise the type of rows seen over HS2, says Alister Scott 21 march 2013 | THE HOUSE MAGAZINE | 3333-37 policy review pink pages.indd 33 20/03/2013 17:58:19