Planning lawyer on impending overhaul of planning system

12 Aug 2020

In light of the proposed landmark reforms to speed up and modernise the planning system and get the country building, Sandra Graham, solicitor and planning specialist, comments:

“Whilst the Government’s pledge for positive support and their swift response for calls to support the building industries are commended, concerns have been expressed in some quarters that there is potential risk of poor-quality build as a result. We have yet to see the details of the planning proposals, but one thought comes to mind – should we build at all costs for economic benefit or has the Covid-19 pandemic taught us something else? Has it changed what we view as our priorities in life? More people are likely to be working from home and spending longer in their residential unit.

“Would we therefore be better focusing planning directed resources on a much wider ethos of ‘placemaking’ – designing healthier, happier places to live through consideration on a larger geographical scale of greenspaces, use of outdoor areas and use of natural acoustics where people have personal space to reconnect with nature?

“Due to growing population demands in recent years, focus has been on the number of residential units that can be created in small spaces but density brings with it other issues such as restricted private space which can lead to aggressive behaviour, frustration and mental health issues.

“If we are looking at a radical shake-up of the planning system, let’s also look outside the box and add a bit of lateral thought rather than just build, build, build!”.