Greg Clark reveals details of planning reform at speech hosted by Localis

Author: Localis   |  

To watch the second part of Mr Clark’s speech click here

Greg Clark MP, Minster for Decentralisation, has outlined the government’s plans to reform the planning system at a speech hosted by Localis. He provided new details of how planning would be made more accountable and open to influence from local communities while maintaining its key role in economic development and growth.

The Minister’s speech gave the capacity audience, comprising a wide range of high-level representatives of organisations with particular interests in the planning system, a good indication of the changes to planning which will form an important part of the forthcoming Localism Bill. He spoke of the flaws in the current system and gave new information on how these would be addressed to enable planning to be less divisive and more a “straightforward and transparent” process from beginning to end. Mr Clark said that, in short, the long-awaited reforms would “reboot planning to meet the needs of the twenty-first century.”

The planning system, the Minster contended, must “enable the right kind of growth”, deliver a significant number of new homes, and “must not stifle innovation”. At the same time, he said that the government appreciated that it is essential to fully involve local communities – which at present often feel powerless – in the planning system. “We want an approach to local planning which is more genuinely local”, Mr Clark told the audience.

Mr Clark affirmed that in order to reconcile these two priorities of the planning system, government is committed to developing the New Homes Bonus and the Community Infrastructure Levy. These will, he said, incentivise local communities to welcome sustainable and sensible developments in their areas through providing those localities with new developments with effective financial means and powers to create the necessary related infrastructure to service these developments. He also spoke of the need to balance national planning structures with local plans in a more effective and fair way, focusing on increased dialogue and compromise where in the past competing interest groups had spiralled into intransigent conflicts.

Mr Clark also praised Localis for placing a “particular emphasis” on planning, an area which in which its Chief Executive, Alex Thomson, has extensive expertise.