The Planning Officers Society has welcomed the publication of the Planning White Paper as the Government emphasises the importance of planning as central to local government’s role as a place shaper.
Hilary Herbert, the outgoing President of the Society stressed that this recognition of the importance of the planning process was significant, and that the corporate recognition of the planning function on local authority management teams was a matter the Society has championed for some time; “The overall approach is very positive and I welcome the government’s efforts to both embed the new planning system in the heart of local government and to take the opportunity to simplify and streamline the process where appropriate.”
There are, however, a number of areas where the Society is more cautious in its support and recognises that matters such as requiring infrastructure provision to be set out in Core Strategies could be quite onerous for local authorities to pull together.
“This could increase the burden on LPA’s rather than reduce it” added Herbert.
There are other matters which are raised by the White Paper which seek detailed responses and some of the changes floated for consultation regarding the consents regime and the role of the executive in determining key planning applications may yet lead to more critical comments from the society.
Steve Quartermain, the new President of POS for 2007/08, emphasised that “POS will offer to hold detailed discussions with the Minister and with other partners to ensure that the White Paper’s good intentions can be put into practice in the most effective way. It is vital, however, that central government backs the Society’s view that appropriate resources need to be put into delivery.”
“This reinforces the Society’s ongoing mission to make the planning system work,” he added.