There is a good deal of talk in the professional journals, press and general media about the Localism Act and how the Act seeks to hand planning powers back to local councils and local communities. Obviously it is too early to say how it will actually work and the next few months should be an interesting time for applicants, their agents and planners.
As said above, the act seeks to hand back planning powers to those who really know a community rather than conforming to national government and regional bodies who often do not have any real understanding of a community and/or the needs and feelings of those living in a community.
One thing I would like to see removed are the shackles that currently force educated and knowledgeable planning professionals, such as planners, into complying with often unclear and contradictory development plans written by bureaucrats rather than qualified and experienced built environment professionals in conjunction with those living in the local community affected by the development plan.
A planner's lot is not an easy one and it is not an easy job. It can likened to a police officer's in that nobody is ever happy to see them. For most people their home is their most valuable possession and having decided to extend it in some way they may need to ask for planning permission. If permission is granted; then the planners were just doing their job. If permission is denied; they are the villains. This immediately makes the planner's job one of the least envied in the construction industry and I hope the Localism Act helps break the manacles on planners and bring back the 'good-ol-days' when professionals such as designers, engineers and surveyors could sit down with the client and the planners to thrash out a solution in a full a frank exchange of ideas.
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