Yet more evidence has emerged recently which serves to underline the problems with the new plan-making system introduced only six years ago. Ministers hailed the Planning and Compensation Act, 2004 as heralding a new era in urban planning. They promised faster and cheaper plans and ones with more public engagement.
This article is written by Derrick where I work at Garsdale Design, LDFs from my perspective as a former Development Control Officer have always been mixed bag. I understand the desire to improve and simplify the system but the LDF process has become more cumbersome than the previous Local Plan system. It’s a shame because there were some good ideas in the LDF system and Planning is such an important part of government (national, regional and local).
Derrick highlights problems with actually completing this new LDF process by Local Planning Authorities and that Planners are of the opinion that this new system has not made quicker the process of plan making. I’m sure anyone who has worked in a Local Authority as a Planner (Policy or Development Control) could tell you they don’t need a survey to tell them that!
My concern is that this plan making process is furthering the feeling of disenfranchisement that the public already have. This is a difficult area, on the one hand a lot of the public feel big development will just be passed regardless of their opinion. At the same time people applying for extensions or dwellings feel thwarted at every turn by red tape and strange ideas about what is accpetable development (I can’t have PVC windows?). Yet Developers see the system as overly complicated and very slow. Pleasing all sides was always going to be difficult. Unfortunatley what’s certain is that the Planning system needs to change again, lets hope whoever gets in after the election learns from previous mistakes.