Wednesday 13 April 2011

Planning: Localism versus Growth

I see that DCLG has announced the four groups that will provide free advice to communities in drawing up neighbourhood plans.

To my mind the list highlights the unresolved tensions that lie at the heart of the coalition's approach to planning. I would argue that at least three of these organisations (The Prince's Foundation, The Royal Town Planning Institute, and the National Association of Local Councils in partnership with the Campaign to Protect Rural England) do not appropriately recognise the economic issues surrounding constraints on land use. This is a problem because the good things about neighbourhood planning (giving people control over their neighbourhood) also come at a cost (in terms of constraints on development). I assume that advice from organisations that emphasise the former, but downplay the latter, will tend to reinforce the NIMBYist nature of neighbourhood planning.

In turn, NIMBY neighbourhood plans will directly conflict with the government's stated desire to ensure that planning does not act as a barrier to economic development. I am still unclear how the government intends to square this particular circle.