What can we learn?

Last weeks strategic planning committee reveals a number of flaws in the planning system:

1) Planning is not really strategic – separate proposals were examined in isolation when the overall impact should have been examined;

2) Planning is developer led – developers pick the sites and then go for permission;

3) Planning gain must be removed from the system. Although it seemed a good idea at the time, it allows developers to come up with ‘benefits’ which make it impossible to objectively assess proposals;

4) A system which relies on flawed population projection figures is bound to over-estimate actual ‘demand’ for house building. The projections may appear to based on a degree of reality as population growth seems to rise (although lower than expected), but this reflects demand following supply. You build houses and hey presto the population increases.

5) Planning appeals – we need to remove the right of developers to go to appeal. If the developer wins they can obtain costs from the local authority which acts as a deterrent to a local authority refusing permission.


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