Failure to prepare…

Failure to prepare, is to prepare for…

Most people I speak to believe that local people won’t engage as fully in the big society thing to the extent and in the numbers that the government reckon. I tend to agree, but we have a duty to try and at least think about what it might mean for planning and how it might work.

Almost every change to planning legislation, guidance etc. over the last 50 years has had improving public participation as a key aspect. Never before though, have such aspirations been part of such a high profile government-wide agenda across all public services Continue reading


Localism: no worries

This is a guest post by John Dixon (Plymouth Borough Council) as part of our series on ‘Blueprints for ‘open source’ planning’

What does the future hold for the planning system and should we be worried?  I want to concentrate on the central plank of the Coalitions policy: Localism.

So what is Localism?  There are a few clues in the documentation put out so far: its …”giving neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants liveenabling communities to formulate a positive vision of their future sustainable development.”  And what does this mean for planning? Continue reading

From 2013 – a message to the past

This is a guest post by Brian Curran as part of our series on ‘Blueprints for ‘open source’ planning’

On reflection

Looking back, it feels like it wasn’t long before we all realized that a prerequisite for localism was strong nationalism. ‘Open source’ planning was doomed if everyone stubbornly invented their own method – we needed a standard 80% and a local 20%. ‘Open source’ became a language to describe how the boilerplate national approach was implemented locally.  It was the straightforwardness of the national framework that provides clarity even when, as sometimes happens, a community chose to define itself in opposition to what is generally accepted to be our national best interest.

Part of the problem we began with was the shoddy law. Scattered across statutes and case law, it was an unwieldy tool for specialists, let alone normal people. When we had a lightweight and cheaply updated policy (the purpose) and regulations (the rules) it was a revelation. A strong practitioner review and the fact that they are updated and issued as complete documents means that legal challenge and friction costs have reduced drastically. Continue reading

Can fantasy become reality? A councillor perspective on planning and localism

This is a guest post by Councillor Claire Denman (Crawley Borough Council) as part of our series on ‘Blueprints for ‘open source’ planning’

Last night I chaired my first LDF working group meeting since the elections. Our agenda had been prepared a month in advance to ensure that we remained on schedule in accordance with our LDS. It was obsolete before the meeting even started. Should I cancel the meeting and allow our planning officers time to watch the world cup that night? Or should we carry on and see what we can do to progress our core strategy?

The underlying question that no one could answer at the meeting was; ‘what will planning look like in the next few years?’ Continue reading

A blueprint for ‘open source’ planning

As you might imagine, we’ve been doing some proper thinking at PAS villas recently. I’d argue that “good” planning will remain what “good” planning always has been – but there is no denying there is a new game in town, and some of the support and case studies we have on our shelves are suddenly out of date. It is impossible to support a new system before it’s become clear how it actually works – so what to do ? Continue reading