Town Planning Review

POLICY FORUM: The Relevance of Development Control: "a Response"

Town Planning Review (1980), 51, (1), 5


22 POLICY FOR UM quoted by Davies could be repeated here on many occasions. Development by consent should be much more part of our life. But the rules need refining. Planning gain may be an ideal which has attractions, butits long term problems are serious. It is, of course, taxation. If the LPA requires a developer to erect a library or a block of flats as a condition of approval to some other development, it is just a way of adding a cost to the development. This mayor may not be unfair. A developer may be happy to accept the charge. But there needs to be a procedure by which there is some appeal against an unscrupulous authority in a monopoly position. Equally there needs to be a position whereby s.52 agreements are not hole in the corner arrangements. We live in an era of open government, and the public need to be involved in a s.52 agreement just as much as a planning decision. The public is a force in planning (sadly, local government representatives are not recognised as the public any longer) and must be recognised: without that recognition there will be problems, frustration, and dissatisfaction. What a lot there is still to do-not least a whole review of administrative law, suggested by the Law Commission and sadly not in hand. But so much can be done to improve development control and development controllers without legislation and we ought to get on with this. DC is-as Davies says-the most likely model for the 1980s. But let us shape it for the 80s. And soon. * * * * * RESPONSE by H. W. E. DAVIES Two months have passed since I wrote my paper and I now (August 1979) come to the very useful comments by Finney, Steeley and Suddards. But the context of planning has shifted during those two months. Regional economic planning councils have been disbanded, regional policy has been restructured and the community land scheme has been cancelled. The Association ofCounty Councils has suggested abolition of compulsory public participation in planning. Charges are proposed for planning applications. Tom King, the new Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services, has promised a Bill for the autumn under which development control will become a district council function, with only minor exceptions. Much of what is proposed for the Bill seems to be a sensible attempt to sort out the countyjdistrict relationship, though it will be interesting to see how the strategic interest can be protected unless procedures for preparing and approving structure plans can be made more speedy. Also, a second attempt at amending the General Development Order can probably be expected; it would certainly be in line with the Government's ethos of non-intervention and cuts in public expenditure. So where now does development control stand? Can it still be seen, as I suggested, as the 'efficient' part of the planning system, holding the promise ofa mechanism for the social control of change in the environment? In brief, yes. While we properly continue to require planning permission for all development (however defined) development control will remain the chief statutory service provided by local Copyright (c) 2004 ProQuest Information and Learning Company Copyright (c) Liverpool University Press

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Author details

Davies, H. W. E.