On April 24, 2016, in Uncategorized, by vic

It has been getting worse by the year, but the Caerphilly Replacement Local Development Plan issue has brought it to a head. There is s real revolt against an LDP chaged from being based on brownfield development, to a completely diiferent one with huge areas of greenfield development. But communites are revolting
Some people describe this as ‘Selling out to the Developers’ But it is winding up into a big issue, and is bringing out into the open the huge deficiencies of the planning system in Wales (and England, reading CPRE), which include – my list: -

  • politicians & planners thinking continuous economic growth is essential (even possible);
  • economic and social priorities always trumping the third ‘triple bottom line’ criteria – environmental;
  • more housing is always the headline, but there is no clear assessment of need, empty properties, etc
  • biodiversity and the environment are luxuries that cannot be afforded;
  • the natural environment will accommodate any development thrown at it. (What’s just another field?)
  • planners & politicians know better than residents and communities (paternalism);
  • democracy and engagement are nuisances, and should be minimised;
  • an LDP does not include a business plan, which would demonstrate how the Plan will improve the lives of residents and future generations (together with a checklist that can be monitored). Planners will say that they have to monitor housing starts – nowhere near good enough;
  • also lacking – a proper assessment of how an LDP will affect the evironment into the future (together with a checklist against sustainability requrements)

Local Authorities such as Caerphilly have a blinkered ‘silo’ mentality, ignoring what is happening just over the border (ie 42.000 new houses in Cardiff). They insist on being self-sufficient, even when it doesn’t make sense. But regional planning is coming in Wales, under the Planning Act

What we need is a Campaign for Open Planning

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‘Towards a Welsh Planning Act’

On January 29, 2012, in Uncategorized, by vic


Have you seen this consultation currently out by the Welsh Government (WG)? (WAG is no more, we must learn to call them indoors in the Cardiff Senedd a Government). Do seek it out and give your views – it has not exactly been advertised widely, and it is obviously aimed mainly at those in the planners club. It is at:   http://wales.gov.uk/topics/planning/planningresearch/planningreview/callforevidence  


Anything pertaining to planning attracts me like a magnet, because the longer I work with CPRW to protect our outstanding Welsh uplands and green areas, the more I see a system that is increasingly dysfunctional and community-unfriendly. Don’t get me wrong, I think our planning constraints, largely seen as necessary and codified first in the 1930’s and the 1947 Act, have been a huge benefit compared with other non-third world countries that have not conserved their countryside – Ireland and Portugal for a start, where’s the countryside? – but I fear the original intention is being lost, or worse, perverted by land speculators.  

What problems do I see in the current system? What do I think needs changing?

  • Growth – get away from the assumption of perpetual growth, exhibited in planning guidance by constant reference to ‘delivery’ of a ‘continuous supply’ of land. Let’s get real, it is not yet possible to manufacture and deliver land, like pizzas.
  • Sustainability – is a popular concept, promoted as a basic ethic by WG – but planners and politicians don’t understand what it means. Spell it out in planning terms – including that recycling brownfield land should be the norm, building on green fields should be a rarity when all other solutions for an absolutely essential development have failed.
  • Community agreement – (there’s a radical idea!) – make it a statutory requirement to prove that, say, 80% of the local population has seen and understands the implications of strategies such as LDPs. LAs should be required to provide an independent source of information and awareness-raising for local people, including doorstepping all residents, pointing out strategic and local proposals, recording that residents have understood the implications, etc. Then community groups should then be funded to campaign against proposals they object to – thus levelling up the completely tilted playing field we have at present.        

You see, I agree with a website I have just picked up on whilst researching for this post that the planning of an area should be carried out communally so that:

‘there will be more chance of being able to create and maintain built environments that satisfy both individual and community needs’

This site is http://www.communityplanning.net  I didn’t find it an easy site, it has an enormous content of other resources, and advice on campaigning, but not for instance on options for establishing a community planning group (or perhaps I haven’t found it yet). But it was rewarding to find a movement with the same views that I have reached. 

There are certainly many other relevant sources of information and radical thought about how we can live together (in planning terms, I mean!) that I haven’t found yet – I don’t pretend to be an expert. But I am aware of the UK Localism Act, neighbourhood planning, the triple bottom line (on sustainability). Get involved – one option is of course to join CPRW – check out  http://www.cprw.org.uk/

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