Fixing the foundations for local plans

 

Building on the Government’s recent ‘Productivity Plan’ Planning minister, Brandon Lewis has stated that where local authorities have failed to produce a local plan by 'early 2017' the Government will intervene and write the plans themselves ('in consultation with local people').

By 2017 it will have been five years after publication of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework or ‘NPPF’ – when the ‘genuinely plan-led’ system was laid out alongside a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

The minister says ‘action is required to ensure that all local authorities meet the standards already achieved by the best’ and berates those councils that still have no local plan in place.

However some aspects of the NPPF, such as the ‘duty to co-operate’, defining ‘objectively assessed needs’ and reviews of Green Belt boundaries, are often easier in theory than in practice. For many councils the local plan process can be very expensive, uncertain and something of a game of ‘snakes and ladders’. Tensions appear between localism and technical assessments.

The District Councils’ Network (DCN), as the umbrella group for England’s 200 District Councils, last year worked with its members to identify both barriers to getting local plans in place and solutions, publishing a discussion paper ‘Streamlining and Supporting the Local Plan Process’.

The DCN put forward ideas that could reduce risks of local plans, introduce staged local plan ‘examinations’ and facilitate cross-boundary ‘strategic’ planning.

Other organisations, including the Planning Officers Society and RTPI, put forward similar ideas. These can complement other initiatives such as combined authorities and devolution.

In the minister’s statements there are signs we will see welcome refinements to the local plan system and we await the flesh on the bones. If we get this right - good tools, simpler processes, reduced risks and real incentives (including funding for infrastructure) - there’s a real win-win in the offing, critically for how we collectively meet our local needs for housing and jobs.

Communities want well planned development, the development industry wants an efficient and responsive planning system and councils want the right tools for the job.

The increasing ‘planning by appeal’ culture sucks resources and helps no one in the long-term. Government stepping in to do a council’s job is a point of last resort and no way forward.

We therefore look forward to the Government’s refinements truly helping councils keep local plans up to date, so we see the plan-led system heralded by the NPPF achieved in full.

We also look forward to seeing local planning authorities enabled by government to recover the full cost of its planning application service, a key element in supporting the drive to better productivity.

Jerry Unsworth is part-time planning adviser to the District Councils’ Network, a planning consultant and a former district council head of planning

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Sustainable Travel Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33,600 - £45,400 per annum
Are you passionate about the environment, and the support services required to keep it safe, clean and green? Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Parks Constable

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£25,833 - £29,726 per annum
You will have previous experience as an attested police officer or as a Special Constable, British Transport Police or Royal Parks. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Collision Investigation Officer

Transport for Greater Manchester
£26,844.00 - £38,228.00 Per Annum
Are you excited by the opportunity to make a difference to the roads of Greater Manchester? Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Transport for Greater Manchester

2 x Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety)

Dacorum Borough Council
£31,218 to £39,786 (Inclusive of London Fringe Weighting) + Car Allowance   
Seeking to appoint 2 x fully qualified Environmental Health Officer’s to work within our... Hertfordshire
Recuriter: Dacorum Borough Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788
We seek an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Head of Asset Management (Regeneration & Environment)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£55,856 - £59,773
We have a current vacancy for the role of Head of Asset Management, and we are looking for a dynamic individual to lead the service Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Environmental Education Assistant

Brent Council
£22,779 - £24,030 p.a. inc. (pro-rata)
Looking for instructors who complement our enthusiastic, motivated and friendly staff team. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Structures Asset Manager

Kent County Council
£52,713 - £58,774 per annum (salary dependent on experience) 
If you have the ability to succeed in either of these roles and are able to prioritise competing demands and objectives, coupled with... Ashford, Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Structures Senior Engineer

Kent County Council
Starting salary £33,082 per annum
Providing engineering support for maintenance of highway structures, liaising and working closely across KCC. Ashford, Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Development Management Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£37,849 - £39,782 per annum
The successful applicant for this post will be capable of taking the lead on work within the team associated with... Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Permit Officer – Place

Enfield London Borough Council
£27,228 - £29,241
You will have the ability to understand and learn relevant legislation and be able to work on your own initiative but also work as part of... Enfield (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Senior Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 – £45,704 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Community Services Manager

Copeland Borough Council
Competitive Salary
Looking for an energised and enthusiastic candidate to lead and focus the service through the challenges set by the Resources and Waste Strategy. Moresby, Whitehaven
Recuriter: Copeland Borough Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager - Highways Network

Bridgend County Borough Council
£37,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Business Support Officers - Transport Team (2 Jobs)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Within the Transport Team you will be required to work flexibly in accordance with the needs of the service, which can men... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transportation Planning Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
ou will have an excellent knowledge and understanding of transport policy at both local and national level. Expertise of both people and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Commercial Contract Supervisor

Wirral Borough Council
£30,507 to £32,878
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Wirral, Merseyside
Recuriter: Wirral Borough Council

Technical Officer – Pest Control

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £23,836
This job is temporary for up to 11 months from the date of appointment to cover the absence of the current post holder. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Divisional Director Neighbourhoods & Sustainability

Glasgow City Council
£83,708 - £95,232 (LDR3a, Grade 11)
This innovative role will contribute to the Council Strategic Plan Theme of A Sustainable Low Carbon City Glasgow, Glasgow City
Recuriter: Glasgow City Council

Principal Transport Manager

Be First
Competitive Salary
As our Principal Transport Manager, you will deliver the Local Implementation Plan, ensuring the £2.4million TFL budget is used effectively London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Be First