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RTPI to investigate current state of planning delivery

28 November 2017

The RTPI has commissioned professional consultancy Arup to investigate planning service resourcing, staffing pressures and delivery structures in local planning authorities in the South East and North West of England.

‘Investing in Delivery in the South East and North West’ will also consider future investment and funding opportunities outlined in the Housing White Paper and builds on the conclusions of 2015 RTPI/Arup research on ‘Public Sector Resources and Positive Planning’. See below for research details.

The Government has committed to “take steps to secure the financial sustainability of planning departments; ensure that the planning system has the skilled professionals it needs to assess and make the tough decisions we expected; and provide targeted support to address areas of specialist weakness”.

The Government has since proposed to allow councils to increase planning fees by 20% if they invest this additional income in their planning department. Councils which demonstrate delivery of homes may also be allowed to increase their fees by a further 20%.

Although the initial 20% increase was expected in July and draft regulations have been laid in Parliament, this has not yet come to fruition. However, we expect the increase to apply in the new year.

Harry Burchill, RTPI Policy Officer, said:

“With some announcements in the Autumn Budget having an impact on local authority capacity, it is all the more important to get the most up to date picture and share good practice in how councils are innovating and coping amid constrained resources.

"This survey will aim to do this across urban and rural authorities in the North West and South East. We very much hope that all concerned will take part in the survey.” 

A survey for the research project will be issued shortly to local planning authorities across the North West and South East of England. For further information please contact Harry.Burchill@rtpi.org.uk.

Investing in Delivery in the South East and North West

The purpose of the research on ‘Investing in Delivery in the South East and North West’ is to further investigate planning service resourcing, staffing pressures and delivery structures in local planning authorities in the South East and North West of England, taking account of future investment and funding opportunities.

This research builds on the conclusions of 2015 RTPI/Arup research on ‘Public Sector Resources and Positive Planning’ which highlighted significant planning resourcing and staffing issues across the North West. 

Research objectives:

  • To establish the current position in local planning departments with regard to positive and innovative planning policy and development management practice
  • To identify how this may be further strengthened in order to make recommendations to urban and rural authorities in the North West and South East who face comparable experiences in delivering planning services.

It will cover the following themes: Planning Resource; Planning Service Investment and Income; Performance; Influence of Planning; and Planning Culture and Behaviours.