Wrong reforms proposed for planning

1 Nov 2020: Democracy down; developer profits up; free gift of rights to landowners; few silver linings. Consultations have closed on the government’s proposals for changes to the planning system in England with very strong criticisms being made by community groups and others. Just Space groups have declined to answer the government’s leading questions and instead present refreshing insights on what’s wrong and what’s needed:

  • More transparency and more democracy, not just a little bit corralled around plan-making every few years; welcome to the potential widening of participation brought by technology but don’t scrap old forms of communication and meeting and deal seriously with class bias and digital exclusion.
  • More certainty about key policies (like social housing obligations, space standards, safety) not more deregulation and more exemptions;
  • More pressure on local authorities and government to meet measured needs for social housing, not just aim for maximum total housing outputs for the market;
  • More emphasis on housing as a human need and right, a stabilisation of house and land prices to reduce speculation in housing as financial assets. Expand commons and collective ownership and management of urban space; don’t just hand the entitlement to develop back to private interests;
  • Give some real, precise, meaning to “sustainable development” so everyone can check that developments and plans actually help with environmental crisis, social inequality, social cohesion and a robust economy for well-being, not just “viability” aka profit.

Read the Just Space response to government (8 pages)
Read the very similar version submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee (7 pages)
Just Space also sent a response to the earlier consultation on Changes to the Current Planning System [Later on 1 April 2021 the government responded to the consultation responses https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system/outcome/government-response-to-the-first-homes-proposals-in-changes-to-the-current-planning-system ]

Submissions by Just Space groups

London Tenants Federation response to government consultation;
and response to parliamentary committee

London Gypsies and Travellers response

London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies response to government consultation; the same paper was sent to parliamentary committee. The Forum also responded to the earlier consultation on Changes to the Current Planning System.

Friends of the Earth and their response to the Parliamentary Select Committee is now on the Committee web site.

Regents Network response

Submissions by other organisations

(Please add more in the comments at the bottom so we can list them – there is no publication or index of the responses to government, though submissions to the parliamentary select committee are published on their web site.)

The Right Answers to the Right Questions, (publication Monday 2 November) a submission by a group of progressive planners in universities who had produced The Wrong Answers to the Wrong Questions when the White Paper first appeared.

Highbury Group on Housing Delivery

Staff at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, short and full versions of response to government.

Haringey Defend Council Housing responds to the Parliament Select Committee

Civic Voice formerly known as the Civic Trust

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Homebuilders Federation (HBF)

ACRE Action with Communities in Rural England short article and archived full submission.

Royal Town Planning Institute response to government, short and full versions.
Planning Officers Society

Architectural Workers (SAW) open letter (UVW-SAW)

Architects Declare…

Wider South East Strategic Planning Group

London Councils – the association of London Borough Councils

A Response from chartered planners in academic practice. No URL found so archived copy here.

Distinguished professionals’ letter to the Financial Times 5 November 2020 https://on.ft.com/36e0hrs

Distinguished professionals’ letter to the Financial Times 5 November 2020 https://on.ft.com/36e0hrs

Staff at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Sheffield University, short summary and full statement

National Parks England and New Forest National Park Authority

CPRE Council for the Protection of Rural England

PricedOut submission.

SmartGrowthUK submissions in parts

Sound Diplomacy, in partnership with the Music Venue Trust, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Studiomakers, Night Time Industries Association and the Creative Land Trust, argue that while reform is welcome, the White Paper does not address significant issues related to the impact of the planning system on cultural spaces and venues…

Kensington Society

Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) with TCPA

LSE London blogs and responses

Blogger Andrew Lainton designs the entire system in an open letter to the new arChief Planner.

Barrister blogger Zac Simons #planoraks (and he has compiled a list of links to responses, with some overlaps with this list but some other items. Nice that we figure in his list).

Nick Falk t(URBED)

Local Government Association (LGA)

Barton Willmore, planning consultants, summary and full text

Federation of Cambridge Residents Association

Centre for Cities 100% support the government. Blog post by Anthony Breach (who might as well have written the White Paper) with links to the Centre’s full responses.


New London Architecture (NLA) https://nla.london/news/nla-responds-to-governments-planning-white-paper-on-implications-for-greater-london

Open Space Society https://mk0ossociety9jn92eye.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Response-to-Planning-White-Paper.pdf

Our previous blog post includes earlier material among which are responses to the consultation on Changes to the Current Planning System.

2 thoughts on “Wrong reforms proposed for planning

  1. Pingback: A wink and a nudge to corruption in our planning system - Red Brick

  2. Pingback: Property relations and London planning – michael edwards

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