Time to move on from central planning era

A reader says the "overengineered" planning system will not be resolved unless LDFs are abolished

I am puzzled by Philip Bisatt's letter (Planning, 4 November, p16). Planners shouldn't be surprised by the coalition's "ideologically driven approach" - all governments are the same.

Pure, centrally driven planning is a socialist construct that you cannot expect a government driven by open market principles to espouse. The planning profession should accept this and concentrate on helping to create a system that meets the government's aspirations while retaining control that ensures all development is broadly acceptable and sustainable.

More than two years ago, I wrote to this letters page warning that the systems created by the last government were so overengineered and complex that there was a risk that a new government would swing the pendulum too far the other way. There was a chance that the Localism Bill and the NPPF would do just this. However, with some amendments - the sort that have been acknowledged by ministers - that risk is receding.

Yet the coalition has still to realise that a significant part of that overengineered and complex system is still in place. This is the local development framework (LDF) process, which is not fit for purpose. If the government expects local authorities to produce LDFs quickly, it will be severely disappointed.

Richard Evans, Cumbria

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