The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today submitted its formal response to Kate Barker's Review of Land Use Planning to the Department for Communities and Local Government. This will in turn inform the Government's preparation of the Planning White Paper which is expected to be published later in the spring.
Among the key points made by the RIBA are:
• Deregulation of the planning system must be counterbalanced by adding value to the system through design
• Pre-application discussions should be encouraged, and the current 8 and 13 week performance targets must be reviewed
• Properly-empowered design champions should be appointed at every level, and design review panels should be used by every planning authority. Bad design must not be tolerated
• National policy guidance should be streamlined, but not at the price of diluting design quality
• Planners should be given greater resources and skills gaps must be filled.
RIBA President Jack Pringle said:
"Kate Barker has offered a tantalising vision of what a modern, civilised planning system should be. It's one that's not only deregulated where it needs to be, but also seeks to add value to planning decisions by taking design thoroughly into account. This will require resources and skills development. We are delighted that Kate Barker listened and responded to us, and it's now up to the Government to deliver on her vision.
"What's clear to me is that you can't deregulate alone - a planning free-for-all is in no-one's interests. The deregulatory aspects of the report should be implemented, but only if the counterpart recommendations that would entrench design into the planning system are implemented too. Putting design at the heart of a lighter, well-resourced and well-informed planning system is not asking too much. Kate Barker thinks it can be done, I believe her, and I hope the Government does too."