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Planning disaster
In short, the Treasury has decided that the planning system controlling and assessing new development is a barrier to business. They want to remove what they see as obstacles – which includes you and your opinions...

Transport 2000, Woodland trust, RSPB, Ramblers, Wildlife trust, Friends of the Earth, and more have combined to oppose the Barker review of land use planning.

To find out more see:

Where you will also have an opportunity to tell Chancellor Brown just what you think of this latest "brilliant" plan...

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
The continual degradation of Human rights in favour of corporate lobbyists....Britannia waives the rules....

I would recommend that all concerned get together and take Brown to court.When they`ve finished doing that, can we hang him for war crimes too?SadWelcome to America boys and girls.....

..knowledge without action is insanity and action without knowledge is vanity..(imam ghazali,ayyuhal-walad)
Perhaps before we start waving the well-worn anti-'establishment' banners we should look at exactly what this review is aimed at achieving.

The 'planning disaster' website just makes a list of several alarmist outcomes of what 'could' happen.

As far as I've heard the review is merely to see where the planning process can be speeded up, especially with regard to very small-scale development applications which currently plod through the planning process in exactly the same way with large-scale development proposals. If there is a way to improve the speed in which small planning applications can be treated then good - this will not automatically mean a negative impact on the treatment of archaeology within the planning process or negative impacts on commercial archaeology.
I would think that the bodies named in Mr Hosty's initial posting are not particularly bothered about that part of the Barker report that aims at speeding up the progress of very small-scale development applications.

More likely these bodies are concerned with the aprt of the report that suggests removing applications for very large scale or 'strategic' developments from the system and having such applications decided by a separate, possibly regional, organisation. This may remove much of the current situation for local objections/views to be heard.

In the recent situation whereby fog caused massive delays at heathrow, BAA came under criticism for not having the facilities to deal with all of the delayed passengers. I heard an interview with a BAA spokesperson where thay referred to the need for another terminal and took the opportunity that T5 was 'stuck' in the planning system for 7 years. The spokesperson stated that BAA would be very happy to provide another terminal at Heathrow, especially if it could be 'fast-tracked' through planning.

Perhaps the Government are thinking ahead with regard to the potential need for a new set of nuclear power stations - a quick way through the planning system might be very useful.

The Barker Review starts out thus:

The Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister commissioned this review of the planning system in England in December 2005, with the following terms of reference:

To consider how, in the context of globalisation, and building on the reforms already put in place in England, planning policy and procedures can better deliver economic growth and prosperity alongside other systainable development goals. In particular to assess:

Ways of further improving the speed and efficiency of the system,

Ways of increasing the flexibility, transparency and predictability that enterprise requires,

The relationship between planning and productivity, and how the outcomes of the planning system can better deliver its sustainable economic objectives, and

the relationship between economic and other sustainable development goals in the delivery of sustainable communities.

Its "key recommendations" to acheive these aims involve (amongst other things):

Reducung Policy Guidance;
Providing an explicit role for "market factors and price signals" in the decision making process;
An independant Planning Commission being set up to determine major infrastructure projects (ie at a non-local level);
Promoting a positive planning culture so that if plans are "indeterminate, applications should be approved";
"Encouraging" local authorities to review their green belt boundaries;
Removing the need for "minor" commercial developments to require planning permission;
Removing the requirement to demonstrate the need for development.

The main document plods through the discussion, but essentially, the "speeding up minor applications for householders" argument is a smokescreen. This is all about making it easier for big business to build big developments. Why else would the Chancellor be involved? The proposed system will involve weaker planning legislation, reduced guidance, less recourse to expert advice, reduced timescales for comments to be made and objections raised, less opportunity for the public to be involved and a less rigourous appeals process.

Be afraid.

There have been some pretty fundamental changes to the planning system in the last six months and more are planned.

We have to view the proposals in line with the review of heritage protection that is also going on.

So I would suggest that to state that this is a planning disaster is over stating the case at the moment.

Peter Wardle
It would be nice to share your confidence Peter but until it becomes clear just what these recommendations will mean in practise-I`m afraid that the wording is fairly clear....public participation (in any guise) is seen by government to stand in the way of business.Seems pretty black and white to me.:face-huh:

..knowledge without action is insanity and action without knowledge is vanity..(imam ghazali,ayyuhal-walad)
I feel strongly that any speeding up of the planning process, for developments big or small, puts the process laid out in MAP2 at risk and by extension undermines the goals of PPG16.

One of the most disturbing developments in the field of late is the foreshortening of the time period available to do archaeological evaluation and mitigation, presumably because planning departments are under pressure to make a quick turnaround on planning applications. Increasingly our evaluations merge into the mitigation phase. There is no time to take stock, do strat phasing, process finds, get specialist reports, dates, in short anything, before being forced to devise a methodology on the spot to mitigate. Correct me if I'm wrong but surely this goes against the central tenets of MAP2 and PPG16?

Any simplification (read speeding up)of the planning system is going to make this worse, but perhaps current guildance on archaeological remains is one of the obstacles they seek to remove. I fear the golden age is about to end.[xx(]
Nothing short of anathema to archaeologists and a blessing for consultants then....Big Grin

..knowledge without action is insanity and action without knowledge is vanity..(imam ghazali,ayyuhal-walad)
Having just spent most of the last week programming and reprogramming the archaeological work required for a major urban development, and constantly having to explain to the client why it would be very difficult to go directly from evaluation into excavation, or to cut out the evaluation altogether, I can agree with merc that this is a more frequent occurrence that previously seemed to be the case. I can also disagree with Troll who sees the opportunity (yet again) to have a go at consultants.

Beamo - a consultant trying hard not to punch out a client and his jumped-up two-faced construction advisors who apparently 'know' that a large urban evaluation can be undertaken in 5 days even though they admit to not actually understanding what an evaluation is.

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