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RTPI welcomes launch of test web site for up-to-date planning guidance

28 August 2013

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) today welcomed the launch of a prototype web site to provide the latest government planning guidance and urged its members to log onto the digital resource to help provide feedback to the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

Dr Peter Geraghty, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said:

“The government has listened to our suggestion for a single portal for access to up-to-date guidance. We are encouraging all stakeholders in the planning system, including our members, to test the site for functionality, ensure it is easy to navigate, and that its works across different platforms and operating systems. The web site will have a vital role in future so it is important we help the department develop it at an early stage so that it becomes an essential and effective tool for planners, developers and communities. I would urge other government departments to do likewise with their own advice and guidance relating to planning.”

The new website should become fully available over the next 24 hours.

Background:

On 21 December 2012 the Government welcomed the report of the External Review of Government Planning Practice Guidance led by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, and announced a short consultation on the Review Group’s recommendations. The Review Group’s report made recommendations as to the scope and form of practice guidance that should be provided in future by Government to support  effective planning; what new or updated practice guidance should be published, with clear priorities; and what practice guidance should be cancelled. One of the key recommendations of the Taylor accepted by the government was the creation of a new web based guidance resource.

Taylor review:

Web-based, live resource

2. In future, Government Planning Practice Guidance should be a web-based, live resource, hosted on a single site as a coherent up-to-date guidance suite. The Government should take immediate steps to build or identify a suitable site (as part of its ‘digital by default’ programme), into which Government Planning Practice Guidance can be decanted as it is brought up-to-date and rationalised. This is not a matter of hosting documents of the sort that presently exist. Centred on the National Planning Policy Framework text, it should use links and drop down menus (as well as a searchable index) to provide the guidance that is relevant and needed by those accessing the site. The guidance should be provided in an appropriate form - not lengthy texts but prompts, essential information, required or recommended processes.

RTPI Chief Executive Trudi Elliott CBE is a member of the Taylor Review Group, in a personal capacity.

During the debate on the NPPF, before the establishment of the Taylor Review, the RTPI led the discussion in calling for an updating of guidance that existed in various forms and in various locations. We also brought together a group of 18 national organisations to examine the issue of the need to revise the guidance, a process Dr Peter Geraghty helped to chair. We also wrote to the government and said there were some priority guidance areas where guidance was needed. Some of that new guidance is on the site, including one of the key RTPI suggestions to improve the Localism Bill (now Act) on the duty to cooperate.

Related documents:

DCLG announcement press notice

The Government’s Response to the Review

RTPI response to the Taylor Review

RTPI Taylor Review page

RTPI: Producing Planning Guidance through a sector wide approach (September 2011)

Taylor Review home page