CPRE calls on government to make planning work locally

20th May 2020

With the government talking about big changes for the planning system this year, CPRE has found that local authorities are struggling to make sure the basic requirements of the current one are in place.

CPRE has found that fewer than a third of councils have an up-to-date local plan – the strategic document that that guides decisions on planning applications. They are a key part of the planning process and without a robust and current local plan, councils are vulnerable to having to agree to developments that the area doesn’t need and use much-needed green fields unnecessarily.

At CPRE, the countryside charity, we’re in favour of a system led by local plans. We want to see the government work with local councils to make the current system work well and give local people the best planning outcomes for their area.

Plans are essential for genuinely liveable areas

Matt Thomson, head of land use and planning at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: ‘These findings are concerning as local plans are essential to delivering high-quality and genuinely-livable areas. Done well, local plans provide a vison for residents and investors alike. They also protect and enhance areas of countryside that are critical for our health and wellbeing, provide a haven for nature and are an asset in tackling the climate emergency.

‘The report found that national planning policies and the government’s tests for local plans make it difficult for councils to “adopt” plans, and even harder for plans to be defined as “up-to-date”. Having an out-of-date plan risks losing local discretion over development proposals, so there’s already a massive pressure on councils. To turn this around, the government needs to give councils more support and consider how to redefine the test for plans being “up-to-date” in order to reinvigorate democratically accountable, locally-led planning.’

Find out more from the summary of our research.

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Man walks dog in leafy street
Local plans are essential for genuinely liveable areas