If the Cabinet is looking for some ideas to improve the planning system then this short article is a good starting point.
Of course some of these ideas would require real political bravery: watering down the local democratic element of planning committees and slaying the greenbelt dragon to name just a couple. Other suggestions already exist: there is ample law and policy to encourage Councils to CPO, its just that they are generally afraid of doing so partly due to a fear of getting turned down and partly because of getting stung by unforeseen compensation requirements. But on the whole a great set of ideas.
Can I put forward a few of my own too? Firstly, please don't waste any more time introducing new concepts that most people have no interest in taking forward: local development orders and permission in principle, for example. Secondly, let's have another look at environmental impact assessment. In principle its a great idea, but I have seen so many bloated environmental statements in support of planning applications that are long-winded and impenetrable. Much more use should be made of screening opinions to narrow down and identify the issues that truly need considering, and maybe a maximum word or page limit to reward the succinct and punish the verbose. Lastly, avoid creating permitted development rights that make good soundbites but in reality are so trussed up with conditions and prior approval requirements that there is no additional flexibility in the system.
Here’s a radical 10-point plan to revolutionise planning