The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) gave us some very interesting summer reading in its July 2009 Taking forward the Government's response to the Killian Pretty Review. This is a bulky document as it contains not only a progress report but also three consultation papers (as mentioned in last month's FuturePerfect?) on permitted development, information requirements for planning applications and publicity for planning applications. These consultations all end on the 23 October. They reflect what appears to be a step-change in Government thinking on "[getting] the planning system into shape to support economic recovery." Section 2 of the Progress Report is particularly illuminating. Under the heading "Making the planning application system more efficient and effective", DCLG wants to promote a change in planning" from a largely regulatory culture to one which is more aligned to the positive and proactive delivery of sustainable development". It sees the planning system as a key element in the strategic leadership of local authorities, to deliver good places to live. Local authorities are to be "place shapers" and need to adopt the "development management" approach.
Government is to produce a draft policy statement on development management shortly. In the meantime, Annex A to the Progress Report contains what it described as a route-map for action. There is emphasis on facilitating development opportunities, influencing planning proposals to achieve quality outcomes and solving problems to deliver sustainable development proposals. All this, it is said, will amount to a "fundamental culture change".
In the welter of consultation papers and recent initiatives it might be tempting to leave this bundle at the bottom of the pile, but practitioners will want to get to grips early with these new ideas.