Gordon Brown’s speech to the CBI on 5th June is a cause for concern at the Planning Officers Society. The POS has made it known that it would be extremely concerned about yet another wave of planning reform when all those involved - public, private, community and voluntary sectors - are just starting to get to grips with what is still a very new system that has not had the opportunity to bed in.
Graham Jones, the Society’s Immediate Past President, said “We have put some proposals to Yvette Cooper for improvements which could be easily and quickly implemented and we hope Barker 2 will take a similar approach.”
Speed of decision making has improved significantly in recent years with the assistance of Planning Delivery Grant, Jones commented “it would be particularly ironic if the Chancellor's call for more speed through further reform coincides with the end of PDG with the implications that has for resourcing in planning authorities. I can't see that further radical reform at the present time would be in anyone's interests.”
The Society believes the Chancellor was referring to Barker 2 and not some yet to be announced Barker 3 review. John Silvester, Publicity Officer and Spokesperson for POS said “I do not believe the time is right for fundamental review of the new planning system. As far as the old adage 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' is concerned we haven't even had time to get it out its box yet let alone test it to see if it works properly.
POS has made submissions to the Barker 2 team on the basis that there is still much to learn about the new way of doing things and that if all players are more positive and less bureaucratic about interpreting and applying the new system there are still many improvements to be realised. Silvester added the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we haven't finished the first course yet.