Has the government’s planning reforms improved the system?

According to the Royal Town Planning Institute’s president Phil Williams the government’s endless planning reforms have failed to improve the system, an opinion shared by Poole-based property consultant Richard Carr.

New approach

Richard Carr planning policy image

Has the government improved the planning system?

Williams has urged the government to look at a new approach to planning and one that will “recognise, support and invest in the benefits that planning can deliver.”

Richard Carr believes that the government doesn’t take the planning system seriously enough and see its wider benefits to the country’s economy; including jobs, investment and clearly the housing shortage.

Williams added: “endless reform has not produced better growth, better housing, or better communities.”


The RTPI is due to publish a report this summer which will criticise the way that the UK has “failed to recognise the value of planning in practice”.

It will feature evidence suggesting that if delivered with right resources and support, planning is “critical” to better place, better growth, better housing and better communities.

Williams’ comments came during his keynote speech at the institute’s annual convention on 28th June.

“The issues that many people expressed during the EU debate relating to migration and population growth, unaffordable housing, the pressure on health and educational services, the need for economic growth….require planned solutions.

“Thirty or so years of planning reform, especially in England, have undermined the ability of planners to deliver [the economic and social benefits the country needs].

“Endless reform has not produced better places, better growth, better housing, better communities and more reform along the old familiar lines will not change this.

“What we need a fundamentally different approach that recognises, supports and invests in the benefits that planning can deliver.

“A national planning debate in my view is imperative. It’s time to value planning, after all, there is no better solution” insisted the former chief planner at Cardiff City Council, now heading up Belfast City Council’s planning department.


Richard Carr has expressed his view in the past that local planning authorities are woefully under resourced and the government should realise the huge importance that they have in the housing system.

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