Development specialist Richard Carr has long cited the effect that a lack of resources within local planning authorities (LPA) is having upon the planning system and his beliefs have been supported by a new Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Report.
The research undertaken by the RTPI found that staff cuts are undermining the planning service. Reports from the North West and Scotland revealed that cuts in planning staff of more than 30% in LPA over the past five years is now undermining economic recovery.
Although this research was based on LPAs in the north of the country and Scotland, Richard Carr believes that similar pressures and restraints are also been placed on staff in his local planning authority in the south of England.
He believes that the country’s ability to deliver homes, schools, hospitals and major infrastructure is being put at risk by the aforementioned cuts.
Richard also supports research by Arup, a global engineering, design and planning company, who said that receiving pre-application advice, s106 agreements and discharge of conditions was being delayed.
Joanne Harding, chair of the North West region of the RTPI, said: “Planning authorities across the North West are doing everything they can to improve the quality of their service, despite very significant funding cuts.
“We need greater reinvestment in planning services from sources such as the New Homes Bonus and other related income. This would help put planning services on a more stable footing at a critical time for the North West.”
For regions such as the North West, they won’t be able to take full advantage of the opportunities being handed to them by the creation of a Northern Powerhouse unless LPA are giving support and resource.
Greater reinvestment in public sector planning services is needed along with the continued development of strong relationships between the public and private sector.
Otherwise, LPA won’t be able to support delivery and development of projects.