Government should rethink damaging planning proposals and plan back better

14th January 2021

The government should rethink major elements of its controversial planning proposals and work with stakeholders to deliver a planning system that puts people, climate and nature at its heart.

The call comes from a broad and united coalition of 18 housing, planning, transport, environmental, heritage and public health organisations that have worked together to forge their own alternative ‘Vision for planning’ in response to the government’s Planning White Paper, published in August last year. The government is expected to make a further announcement in March about whether and how it will take forward the proposals in the White Paper.

The joint ‘Vision for planning’ was launched today (14 January) at a virtual debate with speakers including the Housing Minister the Rt Hon Chris Pincher MP and chaired by London City Hall’s Night Czar Amy Lamé.

Commenting on the new joint ‘Vision for planning’, Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘Today, we’re calling on the government to plan back better and work with us to develop a planning system that puts people, and tackling the climate and ecological emergencies, at its heart. We all deserve a home we can genuinely afford to live in, and to have a say in shaping the communities around us. And for over 70 years, a toolbox has been in place to make sure that can happen: the planning system. But as things stand, under the government’s current proposals, the opportunity to influence what happens and where in our communities would be halved.

‘Before Christmas, the government announced a welcome revision of its housing numbers ‘algorithm’. However, this was only one small part of a range of potentially damaging proposals put forward by the government last year. That’s why we’re calling on Ministers to take an equally pragmatic approach to improving policies relating to community voice, affordable homes and access to green spaces. Together, we can develop a planning system fit for the 21st century.’

The Vision for Planning sets out how the planning system is the toolbox for thriving communities. An effective planning system has vast potential to deliver positive outcomes for people, nature and our economy, supporting the delivery of new homes in order to solve the housing crisis. Our planning system should:

  1. Be democratic and place local communities at the centre
  2. Be plan-led and locally-led
  3. Have sustainable development at its heart, choosing locations close to public transport to reduce dependency on cars
  4. Deliver enough quality affordable and social homes for rent to meet local needs
  5. Tackle the biodiversity crisis
  6. Help tackle the climate emergency
  7. Ensure beautiful, quality places that are in keeping with local character
  8. Both protect and enhance local green spaces and heritage for the benefit of people and nature
  9. Make best use of previously built on land to maintain our green spaces
  10. Encourage green and sustainable forms of transport
  11. Be evidence-based

Chair of CPRE in Hampshire, Dee Haas, said:

‘CPRE has been bringing together like-minded organisations locally and nationally, for almost 100 years. We need to see the bigger picture and continue to work together if we are to protect what is beautiful and interesting about our countryside and green spaces, ensure thriving communities and encourage the right type of development in the most appropriate location.

Today’s coalition highlights the importance and scale of the issues we all face and the fantastic potential of planning to meet the needs of all our communities – rural and urban, today and for generations to come.’

‘Vision for planning’ was launched today (14 January) at a virtual debate with speakers including the Housing Minister the Rt Hon Chris Pincher MP and chaired by London City Hall’s Night Czar Amy Lamé.

Vision for Planning - CPRE, the countryside charity and 17 other organisations launch vision for a gold-standard planning system
Children climbing in the New Forest