Localism Bill

Memorandum submitted by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) (L 08)

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) supports the objectives that underlie the Localism Bill and is keen to work with the Government and others to make the Bill as effective as possible. In particular, the RTPI supports the concept of a National Planning Policy Framework, welcomes the strengthening of the role that the local development framework will play and is pleased that some earlier thinking, particularly on third party rights of appeal, has not been carried forward into the Bill. Overall, we very much welcome the fact that the Bill places planning at the heart of the localism agenda.

Within this overall position, the RTPI has three main areas of concerns about the Bill. First, we are considering whether the National Planning Policy Framework needs to be a spatial policy document embodied in statute. Secondly, we see the need to strengthen the arrangements for strategic planning between the local and national levels. Finally, we consider that the neighbourhood planning system as set out in the Bill is overly complex and that this, combined with the lack of resources supporting the engagement of communities in it, may mean that neighbourhood planning may not be as visionary, widespread or effective as the Government intends.

The RTPI will be suggesting amendments to the Bill to address all these concerns and will be arguing against any amendments put forward by others that would weaken the role of effective democratic planning.

January 2011