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House of Commons’ planning reform recommendations sensible and necessary

  • The House of Commons Levelling up Committee has published its recommendations to Government on reforms to national planning policy, stating that reforms to national planning policy will fail if local authorities lack sufficient resources to implement them.
  • The Committee calls for draft National Development Management Policies to be subject to formal parliamentary scrutiny before they are made, echoing the Royal Town Planning Institute’s recent recommendations.
  • The Committee has called for Government to urgently conduct and publish impact assessments on all future changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, which have not taken place since 2012.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: “These recommendations are both sensible and necessary, outlining the critical need for greater resources to the planning system and the key steps Government should take to support communities.

“The Committee is right to warn that reforms will fail if local authorities lack sufficient resources to implement them. Overworked and understaffed Local Planning Authorities are struggling under unmanageable workloads. While recent planning bursary increases from DLUHC are a positive start, Local Planning Authorities still lack the fundamental resources to deliver the homes, services, and infrastructure communities need. Our research shows that over a quarter of local authority planners have left local government in the last seven years. This position is unsustainable.

“We strongly support the Committee’s recommendations on National Development Management Policies. We recently warned that agreed opportunities to consult parliament and the public have been critical to the success of similar policy regimes in other nations. Without these steps, English NDMPs could potentially complicate decision-making and are unlikely to address local needs adequately.

“We firmly endorse the evaluation of the National Planning Policy Framework. We conducted our own Location for Development research in 2016, 2018, and 2021 to better understand its impact on planning decision-making.”

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