The government’s announcement yesterday that it will be setting out decisions on a proposed way forward for reform to the planning system in the spring, before preparing for possible legislation in autumn 2021, has been welcomed by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
To address concerns about ‘levelling up’, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick also said that changes will be made to the so-called housing ‘algorithm’ to encourage more homes to be built on brownfield urban sites in the West Midlands and northern England.
Also announced yesterday was the creation of an Urban Centre Recovery Task Force. The RTPI is delighted that the task force includes Dame Alison Nimmo MRTPI, winner of the Institute’s Gold Medal in 2013.
Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Chief Executive Victoria Hills said:
“The RTPI welcomes clarification around the timing of a planning bill expected in 2021, and, as the largest body to represent the planning profession, will continue to work constructively with government on reforms to the planning system.
“Whilst we also welcome yesterday’s announcements from Government to revise the housing algorithm we still have concerns that a purely target-based approach to housing is too narrow an approach. Wider priorities such as health, infrastructure, net zero carbon goals and the environment risk being sidelined. The RTPI has also highlighted the need to address mechanisms for build out rates to ensure homes are actually delivered once permission is granted.
“Housing development needs to be considered as part of a national strategy for green economic growth in pace with transport, infrastructure and jobs supporting the net zero transition.
“While the RTPI welcomes the creation of the Urban Centre Recovery Task Force, we are concerned that the group does not feature more Chartered planners. The task force must take the 21st century approach of looking at urban centres in the context of deep community engagement. The input of planners to this work will be essential, using the recommendations for future place-making that we set out in our Plan The World We Need report.”