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Planning update

Planning Bill published: A “ground-breaking shift in power to councils and communities”

Planning Services  Include:  Pre-acquisition or predisposal assessment of development potential Advice on the planning implications of scheme scope, design and programme Co-o r d i n a t i n g a n d leading discussions with local authorities and other stakeholders Advice on sustainability, affordable housing and S e c t i o n 1 0 6 Agreements

For further information please contact Ian Blacker    Tel: 020 8567 6995

Ian Blacker, John Rowan & Partner ’s H e a d o f Planning Advisory Services, warns clients that the planning landscape has changed radically overnight, with new rules of engagement the key to success… “The Government’s intentions for the planning system have been widely trailed and the Bill contains few surprises. Whilst it will take a year to become law the impacts will have immediate effect. Knowing how to respond to the new planning requirements will be crucial”. The development industry cannot claim it wasn ’t warned. The old political adage that “Governments with money centralise and take the credit; those without decentralise and spread the blame ” will be tested to the full as the publication of the Localism and Decentralisation Bill coincides with council budget cuts of 27% over four years and the Secretary of State expecting local authorities “to be able to provide more for less”. Neighbourhoods key to decision making: Neighbourhood Plans will play a critical part in shaping development. Councils will have to adopt Neighbourhood Plans if they are supported by residents in local referendums. Planning applications in accordance with the Neighbourhood Plan can be approved by local residents without the need for council approval. The community right to build scheme will apply in rural and urban areas allowing affordable housing schemes with 50% local support to be progressed without needing planning permission. What does this mean for the planning system?

Further Links:

Planning Advisory Services

Inside Housing Article

The Bill confirms the Government’s conviction that local decisions are (nearly) always right. The current system has frequently managed to both stymie development and marginalise local residents, so any move towards re-engaging people with the future of their community is a positive step. But community engagement is very hard to get right, particularly in areas of deprivation and especially where there is a wide disparity in household income. Significant effort will be required in educating communities in the benefits of development and understanding the inherent trade -offs required to bring schemes forward. And there ’s n o “Plan B ” for when neighbourhoods do not share a common purpose or vision. The lack of resources – both financial and intellectual available to support the transformation expected by the Bill cannot be ignored. Frontline planning services will be cut back at a time when councils will have to juggle the existing (incomplete) system and the new (incomplete) system, with at least 12 months of increased uncertainty and delay in securing consents as councils and communities adjust. It is clear that all involved will have to learn new ways of working together. What should you do? A B C A: Advance Continue to progress schemes (whether it ’s using RSS housing targets or Local Plan site allocations) but anticipate much higher levels of public engagement and be prepared to listen. B: Build bridges

Engage at all levels. Understand the new drivers of decision -m a k i n g , d o n o t e x p e c t c o n s i s t e n c y o f approach between authorities and build effective dialogue. C: Control the agenda Progress schemes that are sustainable and generally compliant with the development plan, localise planning benefits and impacts and focus on hearts as well as minds. For further advice on any planning issue contact Ian on 020 8567 6995 or

© John Rowan & Partners LLP 2010. All rights reserved

For more information W: E: T: 020 8567 6995


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