Welcoming planning minister Richard Caborn's announcement of a far reaching review of the planning system, RICS planning spokesman Andrew Warner said:
'It is widely accepted that the planning system needs a radical overhaul, but we would like the government to go a step further and introduce an Urban White Paper: along the lines of the Rural White Paper for the countryside a few years ago.
'The planning system should be a tool for promoting key objectives, such as integrated transport and the use of brownfield sites. But it is only one element. We believe that an Urban White Paper should review all aspects of government policy towards urban areas, such as:
- a more coherent policy towards contaminated land, which can be a major disincentive to brownfield development
- more effective methods of land assembly, including a streamlined compulsory purchase mechanism, together with consideration of options such as land pooling.'
The RICS welcomes the increased prominence Mr Caborn has given to the European and regional dimension of planning. The EU is likely to play an increasingly important role in the development of transnational networks in transport and other areas of infrastructure such as energy. It will be imperative that the new regional development agencies are complemented by a stronger regional planning framework.
The success of the planning review will be judged on the progress made in a number of areas including:
- speeding up the planning process, while safeguarding the involvement of interested parties in the decision making process
- promoting financial predictability and fairness in the planning system, particularly in the present system of planning gain,
- off-setting the adverse effects of development