The unbearable inconsistencies of planning committees

14 October 2013, Blog

RTPI Wales recently completed a report into Welsh planning committees and their operation, which has highlighted a number of issues and inconsistencies across the country. As an example, in some areas members of the public are allowed to speak at committee, sometimes not; some committees include every member of the council, some have fewer than half. All these differences mean developers get a very different experience between local authorities, which can set them up for failure if they expect a consistent approach to be taken.

While specialist planning consultants such as JBP make sure we understand the processes and setup of planning committees in advance, for the non-specialist this can be a difficult process as they often don’t know who or what to ask. They may also expect members serving on the committee to have a technical understanding of planning and tailor their approach accordingly. As RTPI Wales’ report shows, this is often not the case.

While you may not agree with all the recommendations in the report, many of the conclusions apply equally to planning committees throughout the UK and if taken up have the potential to make navigating the planning process a less turbulent journey – or at least a more consistent one. In the meantime, you will still need to spend time researching each local authority’s approach and tailor your communications accordingly.

You can read RTPI Wales’ report, ‘Study into the Operation of Planning Committees in Wales’, here: http://goo.gl/7lsuXY

Richard Brown is the Head of Stakeholder at JBP. Richard started his career in communications over 12 years ago as a journalist where he developed a passion for clear, plain English.

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