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Planning Reform UK aims to improve the UK planning system by
clarifying the detailed wording of national planning policies.
The UK planning system is in crisis, as is made clear by the current housing shortage.
An obvious reaction is to blame central government for the problems. This interpretation is however unfair.
For example, the NPPF (National Planning Policy
Framework) is a high level document introduced in 2012 to replace
decades of obsolete planning law with a compact and clean national
UK planning decisions should be built on national planning policies such as the NPPF.
This sounds like a straightforward issue - but
in reality published national planning policy can often be vague,
imprecise and inconsistent at the detail level.
This lack of clarity and precision in the
detailed low-level wording of otherwise excellent high-level national
planning laws and policies can lead to inconsistent decision making by
Local Authorities and by the Planning Inspectorate.
Planning decisions and appeal decisions can appear to be counter intuitive, or even capricious.
These problems can lead to the planning process becoming an unfair - and expensive - lottery for many planning applicants.
Despite the huge resources available to the
DCLG and to local government, no attempt seems to have been made to
rectify these obvious - and easily correctable - problems in the
Planning Reform UK
has been set up to help improve the clarity and consistency of
published high-level planning policies, primarily through seeking
improvements in their low-level detailed wording.
Improved planning policy clarity and consistency will improve the lives of planning applicants and planning officials.
It should also reduce costs for applicants and local planning departments and also at the Planning Inspectorate.
Note: The legal ambiguities
and associated planning decision lottery discussed on this web site
primarily affect smaller developers. Planning law ambiguities in the
case of larger developments often seem to be interpreted in such a way
as to deliver a planning approval. Sadly at this time Planning Reform
UK has insufficient resources to investigate the political and
financial factors which might explain the preferential treatment that
large developments appear to receive from local planning authorities.