The Planning Officers Society believes the consultation paper* is useful in highlighting the role of local planning authorities in economic development. However the Society does not recognise the picture it paints of economic development being a poor relation to housing and retail in the planning system. Most local planning authorities do all they can to promote economic development - no planner would expect ever again hear the accusation of jobs locked in filing cabinets.
Paul Watson, the Society’s President, said, “That does not mean that we cannot, and should, do better and the report provides some useful pointers towards best practice. Nonetheless it is disappointing that it fails to point out the need for effective inter-regional planning as a key building block for better performance”.
The Society maintains that the report's recommendations, at first sight, seem somewhat generalist and add little to current practice or to the opportunities opened up by the new planning system. However it is useful in pointing up these opportunities. The Planning Officers Society is committed to making the new system work and the report will provide some assistance in that endeavour.
*Planning for Economic Development – was released by the ODPM for consultation on 13 May 2004. Further details can be obtained at: