President's Blog July 2018

27 July 2018

Goodness time flies! Already over a month into my year and I have fully realised my limitations of time as a chief planner leading a busy planning department. This is something we all struggle with given the worsening financial pressures in local government. So, to help focus on a continuity of purpose and hopefully our impact, Sarah, Richard and I, as the presidential team, believe that we should work on the theme of ensuring POS is relevant and properly representative of our members and the different parts of the country across the next 3 years. I think this is an excellent idea and if you want to engage in this please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Having waited with baited breath for the NPPF and changes to the Planning Practice Guidance to be published we are all now looking forward to our summer holiday reading and absorbing how this will impact on our places. I predict some furrowed brows.

Meanwhile planners and politicians are making complex, brave and sometimes controversial decisions affecting their places and people. As planners know very well, no two places face the same issues and local planning feels increasingly complex. The NPPF appears to continue a one size fits all approach - or as in the case of the methodology for housing numbers, focusses on issues playing out in the housing market in a particular region of the country and adding too much fuel to some places or diluting ambitious growth plans of others. It is difficult to see where the link between this and the necessary rebalancing of the nation’s economy lies. The Industrial Strategy needs a more tailored approach with a set of tools that can be made to work addressing the different planning and housing needs across the whole country.

In that vein I have been asked to represent POS on the Labour Party Planning Commission set to be formally launched at their conference in September, with the aim of developing a planning system that will address the needs of the nation. POS is non-political and will work with equal vigour to support new thinking like this. The Commission has assembled a broad church of key organisations and great planning thinkers. And most importantly their work will involve discussions and workshops across the regions to gain an understanding of the differing issues across the country. More on this from me as it develops and I hope you are able to join one of the workshops, which are due to be held in the autumn.

I hope you all have a great summer.

Paul Seddon  President 2018/19



Category President’s Blog