Guardian Live Discussion on #NPPF – Do we Still Need Professional Planners?

Sorry didnt post this earlier. Link

You have to get a long way down the thread to get past people introducing themselves and people making happy/unhappy statements you have already read in press releases however there are a few new points/points of discussion at the end.

Such as

David Brock

So is CPRE happy with the market housing aspects of the NPPF?


We have serious concerns about the requirement for an extra ‘cushion’ of site allocations, especially the extra 20% for authorities who have persistently under delivered. Site allocations don’t build houses. We agree that as part of forward planning it is sensible to allocate sites to meet need for all types of development, and of course these sites should be allocated on the basis of being the most sustainable options available in planning terms. However, we completely agree with the points made here that it is crucial to address the financing of house building, to ensure that good sites are being built out in a timely way.

In short by forcing local authorities to allocate more and more land, we are concerned that trickier sites, more likely to be brownfield ones which might be more sustainable to develop in the long run, may be left undeveloped while easier, less sustainable sites are picked off.

Also, again the viability language which worries us around affordable housing could also have an impact on the ability of local authorities to deliver on some of the good rhetoric in the NPPF about design and standards.

Siam Sankey – Policy Manager – CIH

We are …concerned about the strategic leadership role of local authorities. Whatever happens locally is going to be determined by the strength of local authorities in their areas. There is a real need for LAs to step up and work to deliver planning that meets local circumstances and community needs. But that there is a cultural shift regarding localism that needs to occur – however, the de-professionalising of planning is a concern, as is the extent to which communities will actually be ‘in control’ or have power. The idea that neighbourhoods have the resources and time commitment is questionable and the difference between the aspirations and expectations of communities and the reality is going to be a fundamental problem in some areas.

Richard Blyth

Interested that you think Sian that planning is being deprofessionalised. We have been concerned that last year at any rate ministers seemed to think that if you made planning policy short enough, then you wouldnt need any planners because it would be simple enough for anyone to do.

Chris Proudley (planning lawyer)

my view is that initially, at least, the wording of the guidance in NPPF will lead to greater discussion and potentially more appeals/challenges – simplicity is often at the cost of precision. Eg, I can see a lot of discussion as to what is a “limited degree of conflict” relating to transition provisions in para 214.


Liz Pearce (you know who she is)

We believe that the debate must now move on to how the NPPF will work in practice given around half of local authorities still have not produced a Local Plan. These authorities will need to, with the assistance of the LGA, the Planning Inspectorate and DCLG, create their local plans. Those with plans already in place will also need to make sure that they conform to the framework.

The framework sweeps away swathes of guidance. It’s unclear which advice is to be required in the future, and who is to take responsibility for producing it. The Government have been clear that replication is undesirable, so the process requires some form of policing to ensure that there isn’t a deluge of competing guidance, best practice and well-meaning advice.

It has been made clear to us that where a document is not listed in Annex 3 for replacement by the NPPF, it is still applicable where the guidance contained within it is consistent with the policy set out in the NPPF. Where there is inconsistency, the NPPF takes precedence.


One thought on “Guardian Live Discussion on #NPPF – Do we Still Need Professional Planners?

  1. Planners are codified into most or all local municipal codes. Planners have the vision for engineers and architects. Planners have a skill set consisting of public participation, GIS, master plan adoption, land use/zoning regulations, transportation analyses, among other things. Are planners needed for municipalities to succeed? No. Will the world be better and more equitable with planners? Yes.

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