Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Housing and Planning Bill technical details

For those with about 5 hours to spare and not wanting to spend these reading my blog posts you could amuse yourselves by going to
and helping the Government sort out the mess that will be created by the Housing and Planning Bill when it becomes law later in the year.

This consultation has been designed by somebody with far more knowledge and understanding of the planning system than those who drafted the Bill itself.  The questions reveal the complexities in the system all of which have the potential for unintended and unfortunate consequences.  If the Bill was certain in its outcomes (as legislation should be?) there should be no need to consider the technical details  in such depth. None of the relies will be considered by Parliament.

This consultation reminds me of the very serious problems that the planning system should be addressing; desperately unfair distribution of housing and its unaffordability, climate change, local food systems, excessive mobility and limited accessibility, inflated profits from landownership and declining public services and infrastructure.  All very big problems and all untouched by the major piece of legislation from the 2015 to 2020 Government. I suppose we should not expect much better from legislation drafted by the Treasury but very galling for about 24,000 qualified planners having to learn, understand and apply new rules that appear to be counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

And who will be blamed when these changes do not meet their declared purpose? and will the Government introduce more changes any more likely to have beneficial effects?

I was told by somebody who spends their life studying the planning system that this Government is deliberately destroying the system by increasing the incoherence and creating chaos. Whilst this is bound to be the effect of the proposed changes,  I can't see this logic in that there will have to be a planning system of some description and even the most stupid or clever government minister would want a system that could deliver on their agenda rather than fall apart. Or am I being naive and the whole caboodle will be privatised...