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RAYNSFORD HAILS NEW ERA FOR PLANNING

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Planning minister Nick Raynsford has launched a unique new planning document - which brings together private, publi...
Planning minister Nick Raynsford has launched a unique new planning document - which brings together private, public and voluntary interests for the first time.

The planning users concordat aims to deliver best practice and to balance the needs of all users of the planning system.

It will encourage the setting of realistic targets for complex planning proposals, and foster full community involvement in all areas of the planning process.

Keith House, chair of the LGA's planning executive, said: 'The launch of today's concordat marks an important new stage in planning.

'Not only is this the first time that voluntary, business and local government sectors have joined together to agree the principles and detailed best practice that should underpin the planning process. It also responds to recent government statements that have suggested that local authority planning performance needs to be improved.

'All the parties are signed up to the principles of best practice, and the LGA will be contacting all local authorities and planning bodies, asking them to sign up too.'

Mike Gwilliam, director of the Civic Trust, added: 'The concordat is a good start, but the test will be whether we can collectively deliver. This will need a higher degree of co-operation than we have managed in the past.'

In launching the document, minister Nick Raynsford said: 'I want to congratulate the LGA, business and voluntary sectors on the way they have worked together to develop best practice in the operation of an effective, high quality and inclusive planning system.

'The advice will help enable those authorities who are unacceptably slow at processing planning applications to bring them up to the standards of the best. We have to speed up this process and it is in everyone's interest that we do so.'

The concordat also received praise from the voluntary sector. Kate Parminter, director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, said: 'The voluntary sector welcomes the planning users concordat as an important initiative which further recognises the importance of involving local people in the planning system.

'By promoting effective partnerships between the business, voluntary and planning communities we will achieve what we all want - better quality decisions about the future for local areas which will improve community life.'

Business gave the Concordat backing too. William McKee, director general of the British Property Federation, said: 'We hope the planning users concordat signals a new start for the planning system by all parties.

'A collaborative approach between local government, business and voluntary sectors is fundamental to both the prospects of UK competitiveness in Europe and the UK's regeneration aspirations.

The federation's members will respond positively to initiatives which bring about much needed improvements to the process and look to the other parties to play their part also.'

NOTE

Minister Nick Raynsford launched the planning users concordat on Monday 10 July 2000.

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