Harris Lamb Blog – 24th March
24th March, 2011.
Who has a say in localism?
By Pat Downes, Director.
A recent conference co-hosted by No.5 Chambers in Birmingham set out the property community’s desire for more information on what the Localism Bill will mean.
Speakers included Bob Neill, the Under Secretary of State at Communities and Local Government, and Glenn Howells, the renowned architect.
The conclusion, in part, was that devolution of power to local authorities is both “exciting and worrying” to planning professionals in equal measure, particularly the desire for input from community groups.
It appears that it may be better to ask “who isn’t having a say in localism?” and should we be worried about the answers.
With the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategies and in effect the more centrally planned objectives that those planning frameworks provide – regional energy policies, minerals extraction and waste initiatives to name but a few – are we in danger of UK Plc missing out on its opportunities to have cohesive planning that helps our economy overall?
With important decision making in the planning system looking destined for very locally biased approvals or rejection there may be real dangers in stunting economic, social and lifestyle developments.
We have been involved over the last few years with a number of major clients and their green energy commitments, principally in planning wind farm and photo-voltaic project developments. A very emotive topic, however the example is very illustrative of the issues raised here. With a wholly ‘local’ agenda wind farms stand less chance of being approved without more central ‘diktat’ to encourage and set a template for what is required.
Localism is a fantastic opportunity but we must not lose sight of strategic and more often than not large scale projects of wider value to regions and the country.
For advice and assistance on all aspects of Planning and development, Pat would be happy to help. He can be reached on 0121 455 9455 or via email: email@example.com.
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