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GOVERNMENT PLANNING PROPOSALS TO BOOST DECENTRALISATION: LGA

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Government plans to establish a wide ranging review of the planning system will further modernise and decentralise ...
Government plans to establish a wide ranging review of the planning system will further modernise and decentralise planning decisions, Nicky Gavron, chair of the LGA's planning committee said.

Responding to the announcement by planning minister Richard Caborn, Cllr Gavron said: 'We welcome the government's proposals for strengthening regional planning. A modern planning system must have decentralised decision-making and integrated policy-making as its cornerstone.

'I am also pleased that the government has recognised the importance of fiscal measures. Improved integration will be possible using planning and economic instruments to change behaviour in order to achieve sustainability.

'Quality and sustainability must be the guiding principles of a revised planning system. For although swift decision-making is important to local communities, it must not be allowed to eclipse these important standards', she said.

The LGA has particularly welcomed the government's recognition of the following:

- the importance of the European dimension in shaping planning in the UK

- the need for a clearer national policy framework for airports, prisons, etc. in providing the context for local planning decisions which should continue to be taken by locally accountable planning authorities

- the need for regional planning guidance to be made more effective and more 'owned' by accountable local authorities at the regional level - along the lines of the LGA's report on regional strategic planning published in July of last year

- the need to work with local government to improve the efficiency of local development control (providing this includes the quality as well as speed of decision-making), using the 'Best Value' initiative of improving local service delivery

- that positive planning requires an integration with economic instruments and other measures (however research is also needed on alternatives to planning obligations) in order to provide more equitable and consistent options)

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