I heard Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralization speak earlier this week and while its clearly it’s all change again on Planet Planning, he was enthusiastic (he said) about planners taking on a more facilitative role in making sure that the development investment delivered the place that communities want. Unpicking development plans and reinventing them to weight neighbourhood desires more heavily is one thing, but he was also talking about collaborative working between local authorities and communities to enable and encourage development investment in the right stuff to meet the whole range of goals.
He talked about the negativity of adversarial development control (my words would be squashing the ability of planning to innovate and problem solve) and the need to look at and persuade the community to look at development differently. While the Minister wasn’t giving away much detail – I was busy filling in the gaps with a description of development management!
We have been talking up this approach for three years now. The supported learning groups that POS have facilitated been wildly encouraged or deeply frustrated at the difficulty of changing attitudes, sometimes in equal measure and sometimes both at the same time. But over the whole country, I have been interested to know what the pace of change has been.
PAS recently commissioned a survey to find out whether Councils had changed their practices to take on development management ways of working. DM was never intended to be a one size fits all approach, but we used a few practices to indicate aspects of a transformation. The result is a half full glass: Continue reading