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Date: 8/9/2006

The Planning Officers Society has suggested that if its proposals were taken on board by Kate Barker in finalising her interim report, a number of wide ranging benefits would arise from an improved planning system.

The debate, according to  POS, boils down to a small number of simple questions – although it recognises that whilst the questions are simple the answers are often very complicated. The planning system, in that it exists to interfere in the working of the free market, inevitably has costs for some of the players in that market. It imposes them in the interests of the wider community. It is also, at national, regional and local level, a political process.  

POS suggests what we are all seeking is a better basis for understanding:

  • What those costs are and who bears them?
  • What the benefits are, and who enjoys them?
  • How those costs and benefits can best be measured?
  • By what processes and what criteria should society decide whether those benefits outweigh the costs?
  • If it is decided that they do not, how the best balance between costs and benefits can then be achieved?

POS is in no doubt that the Barker interim report is a valuable contribution towards improving that understanding and hopes the Society response will help in its further development.

Hilary Herbert, President of POS, said “Our proposals would have an impact at every level of planning, from the national to the most local. They would affect all the players who are involved in the system. We believe they would increase the benefits society gets from the planning system, help the economy and make involvement with planning more satisfying for all concerned. We would welcome the further opportunity to work with Kate Barker and her team on these issues”.

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