Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Planning changes will 'lead to poor design'

More than half of the respondents in a YouGov poll believed the government’s changes to the planning system will lead to poor design.

Fifty-four per cent of people who took part in the survey commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects believed the government’s plan to remove the need for planning permission for house and building extensions would mean the quality of neighbourhood design would go down.

Half of the respondents also thought the changes would mean they were not adequately consulted about building in their area and they would ‘lose their voice’ in development decisions.

Ruth Reed, chair of the RIBA planning group, said: ‘People must be given the right to be consulted on the impact of significant development in their communities in a fair and efficient way. These reforms will create anxiety amongst communities who have been promised more local influence by this government, not less.’

Earlier this month the government announced the removal of planning obligations, known as section 106 agreements, that require affordable homes to be built on development sites if the agreements are holding up the construction of market housing.

But in cases which are disputed, judgement of viability will fall to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Town and Country Planning Association said the government should ensure that their proposed package of reforms do not undermine local democratic accountability in the planning system and divide communities.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the TCPA, said: ‘An effective and efficient planning system must balance economic imperatives with social and environmental justice – it must also be transparent and democratically accountable.

‘The RIBA commissioned YouGov poll shows that local communities are not only worried about the design implications of the government’s further deregulation of planning laws, but also over the loss of their voice in many planning applications.’

She added that the lack of finance is the real barrier to economic growth, and not the planning system.

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