RTPI's 12 Questions on Localism
The RTPI has announced today that it will use the following twelve questions to examine and subsequently judge the effectiveness of the forthcoming Localism Bill. I wonder which questions do people feel are likely to gain greatest weight when local people come to assess the Bill’s potential for success?
I feel the way this has been presented to date would suggest that this is a social network Bill, know enough of your neighbours and you may achieve anything, be that pro or anti development. What I struggle to see is how the delegation of local planning to an individual will always be in the public good. My concern is that we currently are losing a significant core of professional planners from within local authorities and Planning Aid that will no longer be available to interest groups, possibly leaving proposed changes and additions without a sound footing in planning. I think very interesting times lie ahead for lawyers and barristers but not necessarily for planners.
RTPI’s twelve questions:
1. It allows for a clearly stated and democratically agreed vision of national spatial priorities, including meeting needs for housing and infrastructure, and addressing the challenges of climate change;
2. It takes a broad view of sustainable development that requires all those exercising a presumption in favour of it to place economic, social and environmental sustainability on an equal footing;
3. It does not assume that the Government’s agendas for economic growth, for meeting targets for reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy, for social inclusion and housing delivery will be achieved simply because there is the freedom of choice to do so;
4. Any duties placed on local government and others – including a duty to co-operate – are clearly defined, are resourced and are enforceable where necessary;
5. Any rights given to communities, such as the right to plan or to build, are not token rights unsupported by resources, expertise or democratic challenge;
6. The understandable desire among communities for immediate investment in local facilities does not prejudice longer term investments to meet larger-scale needs such as hospitals, waste facilities and transport infrastructure;
7. The systems of incentives, funds, levies and agreements work together to fund a rigorously analysed and democratically agreed list of infrastructure priorities, and that such incentives are open and transparent and are not perceived as, or act as, development bribes;
8. Neighbourhood planning not only serves to provide what local communities desire, but also allows for what wider communities need;
9. In exercising powers over the future of their areas, communities accept and fulfil the responsibilities attached to doing so;
10. It makes it clear that it is equally important for a neighbourhood group to consult as to be consulted;
11. It gives an equal opportunity for all communities to be involved in shaping their own futures, including those communities and groups whose engagement has often been neglected and have been served by Planning Aid in the past and we hope will continue to do so in the future;
12. It does not hamper the ability of RTPI members to continue to provide a professional, independent, un-biased, evidence-based service to all those involved in, and affected by, planning.