The Raynsford Review Launches

Fri 23 Nov 2018
Issue 10 cover 1

‘For those understandably tired of changes to the #planning system, key message of the #RaynsfordReview is that change is inevitable because the current system is unstable, unpopular & inefficient. The question is whether change will be systematic, evidenced based & sensible’ - Planning Barrister, William Upton.

Read the final report, Planning 2020, published by the Independent Review Team. The team was set up in early 2017 by the Town and Country Planning Association.

How does the review affect planning and design?
According to Raynsford the Grenfell Tower tragedy has drawn people’s minds towards the basic issues around the safety and wellbeing of individuals and questions whether communities are being respected and listened to when making decisions that shape their lives. Raynsford is aware the report’s recommendations may not be welcomed by all, but no alternative compelling vision for the future of planning has emerged to date. He also mentioned that the Letwin Review pointed to many of the same conclusions. So, rather than the strategic change the system requires, expect more tinkering.

According to the Raynsford report planners feel uncomfortable with the expectation that they would not raise any objection to developments that are sub-standard and potentially harmful to people’s health and wellbeing. They do not feel that the existing code provides them with the necessary authority to enable them to raise concerns and ultimately to make a judgement about a development.

Recommendations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents have been made and include, seeking the introduction of a new ‘do no harm’ obligation in built-environment professional codes of conduct. This would give officials firmer grounds to oppose schemes that seem harmful to future residents.

The review also suggested giving more power to the National Infrastructure Commission, headed by Sir John Armitt. The remit of the National Infrastructure Commission should be enhanced and placed on a statutory footing to help with national and local planning.

The main report findings are set out below:

  • Cross-sectoral dissatisfaction with current arrangements. The system overall is failing to deliver the high-quality outcomes which the country needs and deserves
  • A period of continuous change over the past decade, accompanied by financial cutbacks, has compounded rather than resolved the problems they were supposed to address
  • The underlying direction of these changes, symbolised by the continuing extension of permitted development rights, points towards a future in which the role of planners is less and less focussed on the creation of better places and is instead moving ever closer to “traffic wardens for land”

The consultation that followed the publication of the interim report demonstrated extensive support for nine propositions which includes the need for a clear and powerful, people-centred planning system with a focus on the delivery of sustainable development. Sustainable development goes beyond economic growth and should also focus on social wellbeing by generating places of beauty and creating opportunities for citizens. The planning system would further benefit from a simplified and consolidated legal framework with fairer and more effective mechanisms for sharing the uplift in land values brought by development.

Until next week. Please make sure to send in your ideas to info@designnetwork.org.uk
Author: Jane Briginshaw, Design England


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