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Delivering the Value of Planning

Delivering the Value of Planning full report (August 2016)

Delivering the Value of Planning summary briefing (August 2016)

This report demonstrates how good planning can deliver sustainable economic growth and housing. It also suggests why in the UK we are not consistently realising the value of planning in practice, especially compared to parts of continental Europe. It is based on research conducted by The University of Glasgow, The University of Sheffield and the RTPI.

Key messages:

Planning can produce significant benefits for society, including delivering more and better housing development. In the UK, these benefits are not being consistently realised. In part this is because of decades of almost continual changes to planning policy and regulation.

Planning is critical to providing clarity and confidence for investments by markets so that they are able to deliver good development. It can improve the quantity and quality of land for development, ready land for construction, resolve ownership constraints, and bring forward investment by ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place.

However, thirty years of almost continual changes in planning policy and regulation, and the failure to recognise and support the potential of planning, has left the UK incapable of consistently delivering good quality (new) places. Serious cuts in local government budgets, combined with the impact of continual change, have increasingly limited the ability of local planning authorities to ensure more and better development.

There is an urgent need to take stock of the planning systems we have now, what they can deliver, and to debate alternative futures for planning that might produce better results.

Instead of stripping powers from planning authorities, governments need to maximise the potential of planning and ensure that planners have the powers and resources to deliver positive, proactive planning.

Three key things need to be done:

  • Firstly, planners themselves need to talk much more about how better economic as well as social and environmental outcomes can be delivered through well-planned development.
  • Secondly, national and local government needs to consider the particular powers, resources and expertise that planning services require.
  • Thirdly, in both research and policy, the value of planning needs to be analysed according to the extent to which it delivers the economic, social and environmental benefits it can, and how to ensure these outcomes are maximised.
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