Planning Consultancy Survey 2010

Strong concerns about the direction of planning policy under the coalition emerge from the latest Planning Consultancy Survey.

In a poll answered by around 150 consultants, 90 per cent feared that the localism agenda will encourage community resistance to major projects.

Only one in five believe that financial incentives to encourage council support for development will speed up delivery and 44 per cent feel that incentives are wrong in principle.

Elsewhere, 72 per cent agreed that delays in local development framework adoption are holding back projects and 78 per cent report that abolition of regional strategies is delaying major schemes.

Almost half are worried that infrastructure projects will be delayed by moves to hand back decision-making responsibilities to ministers when the Infrastructure Planning Commission is wound up.

At this point, fewer than half of respondents believe planning policy statements should be subsumed into the national planning framework due to emerge in 2012.

Only 14 per cent of consultants favour a third party right of appeal, with 56 per cent strongly opposed to the idea.

The poll also reflects ongoing concern about present procedures for handling applications. Only 18 per cent think pre-application charges represent good value for money and 86 per cent think the information demands associated with submissions are too onerous.

Two-thirds see a shortage of staff in local planning authorities as a major constraint on timely decision-making – even before public spending cuts kick in – and 58 per cent think the profession will face a serious staff shortage within the next five years.

The Planning Consultancy Survey 2010 can be downloaded below.

Planning Consultancy Survey 2010: introduction
Confusion over the government's localism plans is clouding growth hopes for practices but housing and infrastructure sectors are seen as leading the recovery, Bryan Johnston finds.

Consultancy Survey - Messages are mixed
The next few months will be make or break for the planning consultancy market.

Consultancy Survey - Searching for signal
Despite the tribulations of the past two years, UK planning consultancy remains a massive industry.

Consultancy Survey - Spotting the niche
With uncertainty gripping the planning market over the year ahead, one key task facing consultancy leaders is to assess prospects in the development, infrastructure and forward planning sectors and position their teams accordingly.

Consultancy Survey - Map of main planning teams in the UK regions

PlanningBlog: mixed messages

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