Red Tape Challenge could echo Taylor Review, say sector champions
In last week’s edition of Planning, we spoke to the two planning ‘champions’ helping the government carry out its Red Tape Challenge, to simplify the sector’s many regulations.
Consultant Roger Hepher, Savills’ head of planning, and Mike Kiely, the London Borough of Croydon’s head of planning, have been chosen by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to be its two ‘sector champions’ for the red tape-cutting task.
Hepher, who sits on the DCLG planning sounding board, said their work was the “other side of the coin” from the Taylor review , but focusing on practice and administration instead.
One of Taylor’s key recommendations was to replace 7,000 pages of guidance with a single, online resource, to be kept updated by the DCLG.
Hepher said taking such an approach with the many current planning regulations, some of which date back to 1948, had not been suggested yet, but he added: “It’s the sort of recommendation that Mike and I might end up making, perhaps on the general permitted development order and the use classes order.”
“They are constantly evolving documents. It would be a very attractive for users to be able to go to a website for the latest version.”
Kiely, senior vice-president of the Planning Officers Society, said that the government should be able to produce updated legislation in such a complete form, as opposed to producing only amendments that have to be inserted into the original document.
He added: “When people look up something, it should be in the right place.”
It sounds like something planners and planning lawyers, weary of trawling through reams of amendments and regulations, would agree is long overdue.
When the consultation is over on 7 March, the chief planner Steve Quartermain will go through the responses and formulate the government’s position.
Kiely senior vice-president of the Planning Officers Society, and Hepher said it was “not entirely clear” how much involvement they would have with that process.
But they said at least one of them would probably accompany Quartermain when he presents the evidence to the Public Expenditure Committee in June, to be chaired by cabinet minister Oliver Letwin, the man behind the Red Tape Challenge initiative.
In the meantime, there is lots of cutting to be done to keep Mr Letwin happy…