C O N T E X T 9 9 : M A Y 2 0 0 7
IHBC response
Two opportunities not to be missed
The IHBC has made the following
comments on the proposed planning white
paper and Barker II:
The IHBC recognises that, while the
2004 Planning Act is still bedding down,
recent evidence on global warming in
par ticular warrants urgent action.
Clearly, there are also
recommendations in the Barker II and
Eddington reports, as well as the issues
recognised in the Stern report, to take
into account. However, the institute is
concerned with the rate of legislative
change and the impact it is having
on already stretched local authority
planning departments.
Barker II
The institute recognises the value of
some of Barker’s recommendations.
However, generally there is concern over
the report’s ver y thin evidence base.
The report appears to be based on an
unsupported belief that planning har ms
competitiveness, despite there being a
vast body of evidence to the contrary.
The IHBC supports some
recommendations, such as simplification
of use classes in respect of live-work
development and encouragement
of greater use of pre-application
discussions. The latter needs to be
accompanied by safeguards to ensure
decisions are not being taken at an
early stage, without opportunity for
communities to be involved.
However, the report fails adequately
to address global warming; demonstrates
limited understanding of the nature
of spatial planning; fails to recognise
the relationship between economic
development and the quality of the built
environment; is weak on community
engagement; and almost completely fails
to address the historic environment and
its role in delivering economic growth
and improving competitiveness.
The IHBC considers a more
progressive and wide-ranging view is
required, with the following key themes:
addressing global warming; place-making
for people; sustainable development,
regeneration and economic development;
and promoting social inclusion and
sustainable communities.
Spatial planning and economic
The Barker report does not address
the relationship between the qualities
of the urban or rural environments
and economic performance. There is
a demonstrable relationship between
the quality of an area’s environment
and its ability to attract investment,
maintain its population, and improve its
Areas with a high quality environment
attract higher-value investment, better-
paid jobs and are often characterised by
population growth. In contrast, areas
with poor environments, and areas that
allow poor-quality new development,
are often locked in to cycles of poor
economic performance. It is not just
coincidence that the towns and cities
that have enjoyed the most dramatic
physical and economic transformations
in the past 5–10 years are those that
have placed matters such as public
realm improvement, urban design and
heritage-led regeneration at the heart
of their economic development and
regeneration strategies.
While Barker II focuses on the
process of town planning, it does not
address the proactive, place-making
side of planning activities. Many
planners, conservation officers and
urban designers are actively involved
in obtaining funding, developing
partnerships, and formulating and
delivering regeneration projects. The
Ropewalks and Speke areas of liverpool
are prime examples where enlightened
planning, regeneration and conservation
officers have helped deliver dramatic
social, economic and environmental
improvements, in partnership
with entrepreneurial and visionary
The planning white paper needs to
address this proactive side of planning
and in particular to develop stronger
links between the planning process
and regeneration funding streams.
For example, the IHBC believes
that the lack of integration between
housing market renewal and planning
has impeded the deliver y of the
government’s housing objectives and has
led in some instances to unsustainable
and inappropriate proposals.
Quality of planning applications
The poor quality of many planning
applications is one of the most common
causes of delay during in the planning
process. This is often due to lack of
knowledge or appreciation by developers
of the necessar y skills required in their
professional teams to design good
quality, sustainable development. lack
of design and conservation skills is a
common problem.
Place-making skills and training
The white paper needs to recognise the
importance of place-making skills in
addressing global warming, delivering
sustainable economic development, and
creating sustainable communities. There
should be a statutor y requirement on
local planning authorities to employ
staff with a basic set of place-making
expertise, including urban design,
architecture, building conservation,
ecology and nature conservation.
The IHBC strongly supports the
suggested introduction of mandatory
training for elected members involved
in making planning decisions. Such
training should include awareness
of urban design, the value of nature
and building conservation, and the
importance of engaging communities in
the planning process.
Presumption in favour of
The presumption of the planning
system should favour the wider social,
economic and environmental good
rather than any cruder presumption
in favour of development, where the
development plan is indeterminate.
There should only be a presumption
in favour of development that benefits
I H BC m em be rs se nd co mm en t s t o
h p r@i hb c. o rg. u k
Membership Consultation
H er e i t i s a t l a st! Th i s he ri ta ge wh i te p ap e r f o r
En g l an d a n d Wal e s h a s h a d a l o n g g e sta ti o n
p e ri od . We al l o we a h u g e d eb t o f gr at i tud e to ou r
m e m be rs a nd pa rt ne rs wh o h a ve sp e n t so m u c h
ti m e he l p i
n g i t to e m er ge .
Th e wh i t e p ap e r p rom i ses t o g i ve mo re cl ari t y t o
h ow we w ork . I h av e ev ery ex p ect a t i on t h at al m ost al l
o f u s wi l
w arm l y w el co me a l
m os t al l t h es e c ha n ges .
T he l
o b by i ng for re so urc es i s a l
r ead y un d er wa y: t h ese
c ha ng es
s i
m p l
y wi l l
n o t work i n t h e e bb i ng fi na nc i al t i de t ha t
t h e p u b l
i c
se ct o r c ou l d face . As o u r p res i
d en t D av i d Lov i
e wro t e i
n t h e IHBC’ s
p res s rel ea se, i t i
s t
i m e t o wal k t h e wa l
k as w el l
a s t al k t h e t al k .
Whi l e t h i s i s a wh i t e p ap er – a s t at em en t of g o ver nm en t p ol i cy an d
i n t en de d l egi sl a t i
o n – i t
i s al so a p ap er st i l
t i n ge d wi t h gre en . It a sks
a fu rt h er t h ree qu est i o ns ab ou t co n serv at i on a reas ,
p re -ap p l
i c at i on
di sc u ssi on an d cert i fi ca t es o f i
m mu n i t y. Th e co n serv at i o n a rea
i ss ue wi l
be pa rt i cu l arl y v i t al for u s. It wo ul d be t rag i c i f ‘
j o i ne d- up co n serv at i on ’
resu l t ed i
n l i
n ki n g b u i
l d i ng s an d a rch ae ol og y ,
b ut cr eat e d a g rea t er
di st a nc e b et we en
t h em an d
h i st o ri
c urb a n ar ea wo rk. We
m ay ha ve
so m e
un fi n i
s he d b u si ne ss h ere.
Th i s o ut l i ne of t h e i ssu es
a n d o pp o rt un i t i es h as b ee n p ro du c ed ver y
qu i ck l y t o st i m ul a t e t h e de ba t e w i
t h i n ou r i
n st i t u t e. We d o no t c l
a i
t ha t i
t i s c om pr eh en si ve .
P l ea se re ad t he whi t e
p a pe r i t
s el f an d
i t s l i nk ed
do cu m en t s, a nd j
o i n i n t he d i scu ssi o n s wi t h i n yo u r b ran c he s, i n t h e
i nst i t u t e a s a wh ol e ,
an d i
n t h e wi de r wo rl d. Th e p o l
i t i ca l
sp ot l i gh t i s
ab ou t t o
b e t u rn ed on t o o u r wor k. We m us t
b e re ad y fo r i t .
J oh n Ya te s
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