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New Planning System Off to a Slow Start But With Good Prospects

Date: 22/3/2005

“There is no doubt that the new planning system is a challenge to us all to move away from the adversarial approach which is very much engrained in the public and development industry psyche” so said Graham Jones , Planning Officers Society Senior Vice President at the POS Annual Seminar on 18 th March.   The Seminar was billed as an opportunity to test whether, some 6 months on from the start, the new planning system was working effectively.

All the speakers at the seminar reinforced the message that there was a lot yet to be done. Katrine Sporle, Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate said “we are all still learning and there is still a long way to go, but we are making good progress”. Sporle also emphasised the importance of planning “planning has now become a major player in everything the government needs to do”.

Lisette Simcock, Head of Plans at the OPDPM, confirmed this point when she said that “planning should be at the heart of local government processes and not in the back room any more”. She also made the statement that “community involvement is a key part of the new system, and actually getting the public to own the process is the challenge, only time will tell if we achieve that”.

Yet another speaker, Faraz Barber, Director of Development & Regeneration of the British Property Federation indicated that “a clear and consistent policy framework is vital if we are going to see a faster and simpler planning system achieved” and that “regeneration requires true partnerships between consenting agencies, this is the key to the whole development process”.

The challenges the new system offered was also picked up by Andrew Wright, General Manager of POS Enterprises, in his presentation when he indicated that some of the lessons being learnt from the POS sponsored LDF Learning and Dissemination Project included “Un-learning is more difficult than learning the new – it is much more difficult to set aside the familiar and to take on the new”. He also suggested this was “the best chance in our lifetime to make planning better, we can’t afford to miss out”.

Following the seminar the POS hosted guests to a luncheon at the Royal Overseas League in St James’s, London .   



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