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Raynsford: planning system ‘at a historically low ebb’

15 May 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Image: WikiCommons

England’s planning system is at a “historically low ebb” that because of deregulation is “less effective than at any time in the post war era, with an underfunded and deeply demoralised public planning service”.

That’s the warning from former housing Nick Raynsford who is urging significant changes to the system, arguing that it is “no longer capable” of shaping the places people need for long-term their health and wellbeing.

Raynsford will make nine provisional recommendations as part of the interim findings from the Raynsford Review of Planning, which he will present at the House of Lords today.

The report claims that the current system has been built “on the back of assertion rather than evidence” and suggests that continued deregulation is leading to very poor quality outcomes for people.

It adds that persistent changes to planning legislation have left the system powerless to defend the public interest and that there has been “significant loss of public trust”.

It recommends establishing a statutory definition of planning which would regulate development based on its potential for achieving ‘social, economic and culture wellbeing’.

It also recommends setting a legal obligation for government to plan for the needs of future generations.

Raynsford said: “The planning system is no longer capable of shaping the places we need to secure people’s long-term health and wellbeing.

“We need a new approach with people at the heart of decisions and system which meet the growing challenges of housing affordability climate change and economic transformation.”

The review, of which the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) provides the secretariat, is being led by a cross section of built environment professionals and has engaged with over 1,000 people over the past 12 months.

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