New poll shows communities 'worried' over latest planning reforms
Published by Fiona Mannion for TCPA in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
Responding to the YouGov poll, commissioned by the RIBA, into the recent Government announcements on planning reform, leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has urged the Coalition Government to ensure that their proposed package of housing and planning reforms do not undermine local democratic accountability in the planning system and divide communities.
The poll found that 54 per cent of respondents believe the Government’s plan to remove the need for planning permission for house and building extensions would mean the quality of the design of their neighbourhood would get worse, with only 7% thinking that it will get better.
In addition to concerns over design quality, the poll also revealed that the Government proposed planning reforms have left half of public respondents worried about losing their influence over new extensions in their local area, with 20% very worried. Only 10% are not worried at all.
Commenting on the findings of the YouGov poll, Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said:
“An effective and efficient planning system must balance economic imperatives with social and environmental justice – it must also be transparent and democratically accountable. The RIBA commissioned YouGov poll shows that local communities are not only worried about the design implications of the Government’s further deregulation of planning laws, but also over the loss of their voice in many planning applications.”
Changing planning rules on extensions and conversions is only one part of the Government’s latest planning reform package intended to kick start the economy. Other proposed reforms include ‘calling time on poor performing town hall planning departments, putting the worst into ‘special measures’ if they have failed to improve the speed and quality of their work and allowing developers to bypass councils.’
Kate Henderson added:
“The real barrier to economic growth is not the planning system, but rather the lack of finance in the system. The implications of the Government’s drive towards by-passing local authorities in certain circumstances are serious. Local communities may well be marginalised and the increased workload for the Planning Inspectorate is unlikely to lead to any time or cost saving for the private sector without significant resource. The Government needs to carefully consider public legitimacy in planning decisions.”
The TCPA will be discussing these issues and the role of garden cities with fringe events at all three political party conferences. To find out more visit the TCPA website.