SIR – As past presidents of the Royal Town Planning Institute, this is the first time in more than 50 years that so many of us have come together to sign a public letter. The current debate in the media about planning reform, with claim and counter claim, highlights the importance of planning for economic growth, building communities and the conservation of our cherished spaces and places.
However, this debate has now descended into open hostility on all sides, with each party interpreting the same policy in very different ways.
The government also wants to bring in a new system almost overnight, reflecting the urgency of delivering localism and stimulating both housing and economic growth.
While we recognise this urgency and support the government’s overall objectives, the unintended consequences of this haste are greater confusion, uncertainty for the development industry and anxiety for communities.
Good planning is also about the long, as well as the short term.
What we need is a reasoned debate and clear thinking on managing this major change.
As the voice of the professionals, in the public, private and voluntary sectors, who will be charged with making any new system work, the RTPI stands ready to bring the parties together to address the confusion and to resolve the conflict.
Professor Vincent Goodstadt
Professor Peter Fidler
Professor Graham Ashworth
The Royal Town Planning Institute
The thing is, y\’see, that the aim of the changes to planning law is to get rid of you lot. Not only don\’t we want you hosting a summit so that all sides can be heard, we don\’t want you anywhere near the process at all. For it is exactly your sort of planning that has brought us to this pretty impasse.
We\’d like to get you back in your box, back to where Jane Jacobs said you should be: you can do a bit of connecting up the sewers and running the \’leccie lines after people have decided where they want to build. But we want you entirely out of the business of deciding what should be built where.