The Raynsford Review of Planning launched

Aerial view under UK gov open licence agreement 140417Former housing minister Nick Raynsford in his planning review has warned that planning has been reduced to a ‘chaotic patchwork’ of responsibilities which is not compatible with promoting the health, wellbeing and civil rights of communities.

image: Open Government Licence v3.0

The Town and Country Planning Association writes:

In a landmark assessment of the English planning system former housing minister Nick Raynsford has warned that planning has been reduced to a ‘chaotic patchwork’ of responsibilities which is not compatible with promoting the health, wellbeing and civil rights of communities.

The report makes clear that while planning has a huge potential to make people’s lives better this opportunity has been undermined by deregulation. It calls on the government to immediately restrict permitted development, which allows the conversion of commercial buildings to housing units without any proper safeguards on quality, with a senior member of the review team branding it ‘toxic’.

Findings collected over the last 18 months show that people no longer perceive councils as able to protect the public interest, with the economic gain of landowners and developers taking precedent over all else.

In a bid to reduce inequality in deprived areas, the review claims that the Treasury must partially redistribute capital gains tax and stamp duty to invest in the nation’s deprived areas—with councils given powers to compulsory purchase land at a price which allows communities to benefit from the uplift of values created by development.

The review finds that continued reform has led to councils forming development plans in an uncoordinated way which fails to address sub-regional impacts of flooding or coastal erosion.

Rt Hon Nick Raynsford said: ‘We ignore at our peril the anger and disaffection felt by so many communities at the failure of current planning policies and procedures to listen to their concerns and respond to their needs. Restoring public confidence in the planning system is one of our generation’s greatest challenges.

‘Visionary planning is not just about creating great places in which to live and work. It is also about ensuring that we meet the huge environmental challenges our society faces, not least those arising from the very serious threat of global warming.’

Hugh Ellis, interim chief executive of the TCPA, said: ‘Permitted development is toxic and leads to a type of inequality not seen in the Britain for over a century. Under the arrangements—which have already produced over 100,000 housing units—vulnerable people are stripped of any right to light and space, with their children forced to play in active car parks—and no contribution to local services such as doctor’s surgeries or local schools.’

‘We have a choice. Do we want to build the slums of the future or create places that actually enhance people’s lives?’

… The Raynsford Review task force includes: Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) chair, Rt Hon Nick Raynsford; former chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association, Kate Henderson; Founding director of Living Space Project, Maria Adebowale-Schwarte; Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Tom Fyans; Managing partner at David Lock Associates, Julia Foster; President elect of the Local Government Association (LGA) and Peabody chair, Lord Kerslake; Professor of planning, environment and public policy at University College London, Yvonne Rydin; Consultant and former chief planning inspector, Chris Shepley CBE; Barrister, William Upton; Founder….

The Raynsford Review of Planning was commissioned by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), an independent campaigning charity calling for more integrated planning based on the principles of accessibility, sustainability, diversity and community cohesion. For more information on the TCPA, click here.

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