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The Queen's speech - why the planning system needs reform?

Our Cambridge 'Science Cities' forum in March discussed the topic of 'sustainable planning' with Simon Payne, former Director of Environment at Cambridge City Council, now running Lambsquay Consulting, who describes below what needs to be changed in the UK's planning system.

Simon states:

'Next month, in May, we will hear the Queen's Speech at the start of the new parliament and we will learn how far and how quickly the Government intends to grasp the nettle of radical planning reform.

'Our national planning system is struggling to deliver high quality development decisions that will support our future cities. Many local communities feel at odds with the process. Our complex development management processes are under resourced and slowing up. Similar pressures are impacting on local plan making, and uncertainty about future housing targets has led a growing number of local Councils to slow up or put local plan-making on hold.

'The Government has stated that it is committed to address these issues but we still await the outcome of the consultation following the Planning White Paper in 2020 which proposed radical planning reform. It seems most likely that these reforms will be watered down.

'Government ministers have said that fixing a new infrastructure levy is a high priority. We need a process that more effectively captures land value uplift and invests resources to create community assets that are required as a result of the proposed development.

'But Planning reform needs to go much further to allow local authorities and communities to secure the high quality growth that is so needed. A properly resourced, digitally accessible, plan-led system directly engaged with local communities should be the goal.'

Future Cities Forum is always grateful to hear Simon's views and benefits from his long experience in this area.


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