Here we go again on planning

By Steve Quartermain | 15 September 2021

I don’t know where to start really. I have worked in planning for many years and there has never been a time when someone isn’t saying that the planning system doesn’t work and/ or how they want to change it. One might say that no-one has yet got it right despite the efforts to ’simplify’ and reform the system over the years. Alternatively, there is a view that no one has yet left the system alone long enough for it to prosper or decide who the system is supposed to ‘work’ for.

To be honest, I sigh a little inside when commentators say, ‘planning rules simple don’t work at the front line’ although I think we can all agree ‘we need a planning system focussed on delivering quality housing and improving communities where they are built’. I sigh because the statistics show that 87% of applications are approved and a similar percentage approved on time. Indeed, if you want a locally led planning system you have one. Only 1.4% of applications are determined contrary to the local view when you take into account refusals not appealed and the approximate 66% of appeals that are dismissed (1).

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