The Planning Officers Society stands ready to assist in finding ways to streamline the planning system, especially where this will help meet real local needs.
Local Planning Authorities are not just about saying ‘no' indeed the vast majority of applications are in fact approved, but they are also critical in promoting quality development which will help meet the Coalition Government's stated vision to support development which is sustainable.
If certain developments are not to be taken through the planning system some other way would have to be found to ensure that development is sustainable. Issues which are often of most concern to local communities and where expert input is essential include consideration of flood risk; highway safety; impacts on trees and ecology; foul and surface water drainage; and noise and other pollutants and there are many more. LPAs also have experience in securing the delivery of all aspects of a proposed scheme, and drafting conditions and other restrictions to control the negative impacts of a development for example to protect neighbours.
Planning officers also work hard to resolve legitimate objection and crucially check what is actually built. "No doubt a community would feel very let down if the development they supported did not live up to their expectations" said Malcolm Sharp, Society Junior Vice-President and Society representative on the Governemnt's local housing trusts working group,
Sharp told Planning magazine "In this way Planning and Planning Officers can be part of the solution rather than the problem. It should also not be overlooked that this issue is not all about planning but there are other key barriers to be overcome to enable the provision of rural housing and other facilities including land ownership, value, viability and frequently, local opposition."
"As well as these other barriers, solving the problem the Minister identifies is as much about policy rather than process and Government might like to look to itself in terms of what policy replaces PPS3 in promoting rural housing for example a more imaginative approach to exception sites" Sharp added.
The Government announcement can be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1648312