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Reform of planning system urgently needed to help local communities

Planning is not working for Hampshire communities Planning is not working for Hampshire communities

26 October 2017

The planning system needs a major overhaul to make it more accessible for local people. Local Plans are prepared with little regard to local wishes and their complexity is often baffling. This is the view expressed by CPRE Hampshire (the Campaign to Protect Rural England) in its response to the Raynsford Review of Planning1. The charity highlights cases in East, North and South Hampshire where local involvement in plan making has not been effective2.

The Raynsford Review has been set up by the TCPA (Town and Country Planning Association) 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. It is chaired by former MP and Housing Minister Nick Raynsford.

Edward Dawson, a CPRE Hampshire Trustee said: “CPRE Hampshire has dealt with planning over decades, and is concerned at the way it can be misused with little regard to the longer term. We have stressed the need for a wider strategic approach to planning that respects the needs of local communities.

This is an important review and we need to get our views and experience across. In Hampshire, we think that Local and Neighbourhood Plans have not always been accorded the weight they deserve. Localism is important, as is community buy-in of their plans.”

CPRE Hampshire’s submission contains case studies from across Hampshire, including in Basingstoke and Deane, Eastleigh, Emsworth, Fareham, Four Marks, Havant and Medstead.

They show a range of processes and influences that are hard to pin down. Neighbourhood Plans for example are subject to a local referendum. However, these can then be undermined or changed even within the agreed plan period, without the need for further consultation.

While plans must be detailed, they could be made easier to interpret and use. Consultation can be limited to an ‘informed few’, with many feeling left out. Planning is sometimes said to bring out the worst in people, rather than bringing communities together. It can be divisive, even at local levels, as competing factions or individuals promote private concerns rather than the public interest.

CPRE Hampshire is promoting a county-wide approach to planning and land use in its Hampshire Strategic Vision available from www.cprehampshire.org.uk. Its response to the Raynsford Review of Planning is also on the website (see below).

Notes for editors

1 The Raynsford Review of Planning www.tcpa.org.uk/raynsford-review

2 CPRE Hampshire response to the Raynsford Review of Planning available to download below. Case studies include: East Hampshire District Council/Neighbourhood Plans in Medstead, Four Marks and Farnham; Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Local Plan; South Hampshire – Eastleigh, Fareham, Havant and Emsworth.

Additional note - 15 November 2017

Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman, Partnership for Urban South Hampshire wrote to CPRE Hampshire on 3 November 2017 claiming inaccuracies in the case history on South Hampshire, which formed part of our submission to the Raynsford Review. We considered the points made by Councillor Woodward and responded by letter (sending a copy to the Raynsford Review). You can download the letter below.

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