The RIBA has told the AJ further ‘detail and strengthening’ of the Localism Bill is needed if it is to deliver good design and avoid ‘undermining the core principles of the planning system’
The Bill, which was unveiled before Christmas and survived a second reading in Parliament on Monday (17 January), aims to devolve power from central government to local authorities and communities as well as streamline the planning system.
An RIBA spokesperson said: ‘The RIBA supports the Government’s desire to devolve power…. [however] we want to see meaningful planning reform that helps deliver better quality development and removes unnecessary bureaucracy but which does not undermine the core principles of the system.
‘The Localism Bill will start this process, but with much of the detail being reserved for future regulation, it is difficult at this stage to see how the overall package of reforms will reshape the system.’
The Institute added: ‘We believe that stronger measures need to be included to fill the gap between national and local planning policies and have concerns about the level of support that communities will have in developing neighbourhood plans. We look forward to working constructively with Government and parliamentarians throughout the passage of the Bill.’
The RIBA has called on the Government to provide clarity on a number of key areas and to consider:
- Strengthening the Duty to Co-operate to set out more explicitly how planning authorities should work together in the development of Local Plans
- Setting out how compliance with the Duty to Co-operate will be monitored and adjudicated upon and the sanctions that will apply should authorities fail to co-operate
- Providing clarity on how communities will be supported in neighbourhood planning and to ensure they have access to the appropriate resources and professional expertise
- Providing a requirement on neighbourhoods to pay regard to good design
- Setting out mechanisms through which developments can be scrutinised, proportionate to their scale and impact on the local area.