An amendement to the Housing and Planning Bill has caused a bit of 'a do' ......
The Government has put forward a pilot idea of deregularising the determination of planning permission. Needless to say staunch defenders of the existing system including the RTPI have lept to the defence of the existing system because it seems this is an ideological attack on 'planning'
However, lets step back for a second...is it? Nobody is saying that planning must be abolished, nobody is saying there should no be planning authorities. No , what is actually being said is , why do we have to go to one provider of that service?
Personally i think its a good idea ! As one planning consultant wrote in an email to me; " I'm with you Chris ( though it pains me to say so given our Local Authority backgrounds) ......there are some planning authorities who could do with a massive private sector kick up the a**** in my opinion. The ones who are lazy, rude, unprofesional and put bluntly, plain incompetent........."
Strong stuff, but in some cases not entirely misplaced. As with all professions there are good planners and bad ones, and there are good authorities and bad ones.
The point is at present its a post code lottery. If you live in, or want to develop in a bad authority then you stuck with their attitude, their lack of response, their refusal to engage with you, protocols and procedures designed not to make the experience of engaging with them a pleasant experience, but one which suits them.
As another consultant said to me " ive had experience of the validation police, the contact centre who will not put me through to a planning officer, the planning officers who think pd rights are there to be fought and disregarded, the planners who think they are employed by the RTPI ( and not their council tax payers or service users) and are on a personal mission, the blatantly false statement that they have been 'proactive and positive......"
Ultimately as another said...." if you go to a restauarant and have a bad experience you just wouldnt go back again"
All in all I hope it happens - i think it will , maybe not now but certainly around 2020 ...and the cultural change required by some planners will clearly be beyond them.