Quartermain pushes core strategy focus

The government's chief planner Steve Quartermain has urged councils to focus their efforts on completing core strategies.

Speaking at a British Property Federation and Planning Inspectorate seminar last week, Quartermain claimed that many authorities are mistakenly producing too many policies and that the local development framework process needs to be speeded up.

Only 13 per cent of councils have an adopted core strategy, five years after they were introduced. "Local authorities complain that they have to produce too many development plan documents. But the only document they need to produce is the core strategy," Quartermain stressed.

But Cushman & Wakefield partner John Watson disputed his claim. "Telling local authorities to concentrate on the core strategy isn't really good enough," he maintained. "With the current system, you have little option but to produce other documents to deal with detailed issues."

He added: "If Quartermain is coming to the view that we need a single document that contains everything you require to carry out development in an area, that sounds very much like a local plan and many people would welcome it."

A survey produced by Cushman & Wakefield and the Town and Country Planning Association this year found that 68 per cent of councils blamed insufficient resources for core strategy delays (Planning, 28 August, p1).

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