Planning for the future the Government White Paper on the consultation to revolutionise the planning system of England is an 84 page document starting with Mr Johnson’s foreword: ‘Thanks to our planning system, we have nowhere near enough homes in the right places. People cannot afford to move to where their talents can be matched with opportunity. Businesses cannot afford to grow and create jobs. The whole thing is beginning to crumble and the time has come to do what too many have for too long lacked the courage to do – tear it down and start again. That is what this paper proposes. Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War.’

The document is highly critical of the current, 1947-designed system, of poor software, too dependent on a single planner, of local plans only being present in 50% of Local Planning Authorities, and of taking seven years to complete. Some of these statements are true but they are not what has stopped affordable houses being built.

It is true that the process of determining developers’ contributions (Section 106 or SIL) is slow and inaccurate. Further, design quality is poor; they would like ‘design codes’ rather than current guidlines. What we do build is too few, too small and badly designed.

There are many questions to be answered, many of them political.

To overcome these deficiencies there are twenty five proposals to which readers of the White Paper are asked to reply as a public consultation. The Ipswich Society has already commenced formulating a studied and controlled response. Meanwhile, we would like to hear members’ views so that we can incorporate them into our response. Please contact us via email or Royal Mail or telephone (see details on the back page) before the end of October because we have to send our reply by November 11. The White Paper link is:-

Mike Cook

Next article