The Raynsford Review of Planning

Putting sustainability and communities at the heart of planning

No-one would argue that mistrust of the planning system in England has become an issue, especially among local communities. As the interim Raynsford Review, published last week, states: “If there is one striking conclusion to be drawn from the work of the Raynsford Review to date, it is that the current planning system in England does not work effectively in the long term public interest of communities or the nation.” 

The Raynsford Review was set up to identify how the government can reform the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes, while still encouraging the production of new homes. 

Chaired by former Labour Housing and Planning Minister Nick Raynsford, the review has the following three objectives:

  • Engage constructively with politicians, communities and all those interested in the built environment about how to deliver better placemaking through a fairer and more effective planning system.
  • Produce a solution-focused report that sets out a blueprint for a new planning system in England.
  • Set out a new vision for planning in England and rebuild trust in the planning process.

As the Planning System in England is heavily deregulated, there are concerns from both the private and public sector that the system is unsustainable. The Review seeks to provide practical and comprehensive policy guidance to overcome such issues in a way that is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders and the Interim Report identifies nine propositions:

  1. Planning in the public interest
  2. Planning with a purpose
  3. A powerful, people-centred planning system
  4. A new covenant for community participation
  5. A new commitment to meeting people’s basic needs
  6. Simplified planning law
  7. Alignment between the agencies of English planning
  8. A fairer way to share land values
  9. A new kind of creative and visionary planner

“It must strike a balanced settlement in which the development needs of our communities are met in the most sustainable ways, and in which all parts of the community had a real voice in the decision-making process.  This will always be hard to achieve; but, while a perfect system may be beyond our reach, a much improved one is not.”

A final round of consultation on the Interim Report’s nine propositions is taking place until 29 June 2018, with the final report due to be published in late Autumn 2018.

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