Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Planning Map for England

The one thing that comes up time and time again when we speak to local reisdents is the worry of over development and the strain it places on local amenities – congested roads, lack of school places, a broken health system, drainage, sewerage etc etc. This was not helped by the relaxation of the Planning Laws in 2008.

Only last week a Planning Application that was rejected by Redbridge Council was referred back by the Planning Inspectorate (in Bristol) saying it should be subject to more relaxed guidelines. It was rejected again and the developer is going to appeal to the Secretary of State. But Councillor Paul Canal hit back saying:

"To allow a scheme such as this to drive a coach and horses through our own planning policies would be to encourage incremental urban destruction."

"Quite how the Planning Inspectorate saw fit to blatantly ignore local and regional planning guidelines and allow a scheme with urban density to be built in a suburban setting is beyond me."

"We should fight fire with fire. To do otherwise is to abandon our suburbs to the bulldozer and concrete salesman," he added.
Strong words, but how do we make a stand? Well, help may be at hand from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

New research commissioned by the RTPI from Manchester University shows that individual government departments now have more than 100 major maps for England relating to policies and programmes on the economy, transport, communications, housing and the environment. None are available in one place or through a single data source and can be very difficult to find as they are scattered across web sites and within departmental reports.
Surprised? They want an integrated overlayed Map so that proper decisions can be made with full information. It goes on …

Analysis by the Centre for Urban Studies at Manchester University reveals that in fully two thirds of maps the implications for different places are not made explicit. By overlaying a number of these maps and diagrams together, the researchers demonstrated that some policies and programmes, when considered against each other in relation to different parts of the country, may have unintended consequences.

For example, the study revealed that there is considerable overlap between broad areas where housing growth is projected in the future and where there are the greatest environmental and policy constraints to growth. These constraints include the risk of flooding and expected future household water shortages.
Er, water? Hosepipe ban here in London, if you are connected by Thames Water, from next week.
Flooding? Tell the people who live in the Roding Valley.

Read the whole report here.

RTPI are asking for views from stakeholders. That’s you and also our elected members who have to make the decisions. Over to Paul, Nick Hayes our Cabinet Member for Planning & Regeneration and Richard Hoskins the Chair of our Regulatory Committee.

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