Once again the Labour in Wales Welsh Government has missed a real opportunity to actually deliver a modern planning system to meet the needs of the people of Wales in the 21st century. Our planning system is in need of root and branch reform so simply tinkering with the existing out-dated legislation as suggested the Welsh Government White Paper on Planning simply won’t do.
Our planning system, along with our pretty much nineteenth century local government setup is not designed to coexist with devolution or for that matter fit to deliver planning decisions with real and lasting benefits for local people and local communities. There is a real need for root and branch reform and reorganisation of our planning system; the Welsh Government’s decision to simply tinker and tweak with existing out-dated legislation in its White Paper on Planning (which was released on 4th December) is disappointing to say the least.
Our current planning system is too focussed railroading through large housing developments that bring little benefits for local people and local communities. We need a fundamental change in planning culture to encourage appropriate and sustainable development which is based on good design and actively promotes energy efficiency and good environmental standards.
An opportunity to address the shortage of affordable housing, to encourage more small-scale renewable energy projects, and to actively support small businesses in relation to the Planning Bill has been missed. It is time to start the process of actually addressing the flawed LDP (Local Development Plan) and UDP (Unitary Development Plan) system which does not deliver for local communities and fails to serve our national interests.
Our planning system and planning processes are too slow, too bureaucratic and too unresponsive to local needs and local opinions. The current system is based on the post-war Town and Country Planning Act from 1947 and is simply out-dated; our country needs a modern planning system that meets the needs of modern Welsh society. In line with the realities of devolution our country needs an independent Planning inspectorate for Wales as the old single planning inspectorate for England and Wales is increasingly unsustainable.