Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Keeping it simple

The Localism Bill is just out, and it includes significant planning measures, including the introduction of 'neighbourhood planning'.

A month ago, the RIBA had a meeting with Greg Clark, the decentralisation minister. It was put to him that (1) one of the few things that everyone could agree on about the planning system was that it was too complicated and ought to be made simpler; and that (2) every reform that set out with this ambition had the result of making the system more complicated rather than simplifying it.

He made a note of this.

Neighbourhood planning could be a good thing in theory, if one takes the optimistic view. But in practice, it seems very likely indeed that an already over-complicated system will yet again become more so, and the absurd micro-management of every last aspect of a planning application will intensify.

Mr Clark's boss Mr Pickles says he wants to cut through pointless bureaucracy, but has just put his name to a Bill that will have the opposite effect.

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