Headlines: June 15th, 2005

There is to be a three-year study of the the new local system for making local development plans. Announcing the project, the Planning Minister Yvette Cooper, said it would be a valuable source of shared knowledge and experience.The new Local Development Framework system began in September 2004, replacing the previous regulations under which all planning issues had to be addressed as part of a single development plan. These often took years to be agreed or changed. The local development framework is designed to be a flexible portfolio of documents tailored to the needs of an area and easy to update.

The newly-announced LDF Implementation Study is a long-term, interactive project that will be part of the government’s contribution to the support it believes local planning authorities will need during the transition to the new system. It will address questions including how local authorities use the new arrangements to deal with bottlenecks in the system and how they use the new approach to address the most difficult decisions and with what effect. The study will also measure whether there is increased confidence in the local planning system as well as looking into whether national and regional policy and guidance assist or constrain local decision making.

Yvette Cooper said a cultural change was needed in planning to create a streamlined, modern system. “The study will be a valuable source of knowledge and support for local authorities as they make this transition. It will enable us to assess progress with the new local planning system and to share best practice, ultimately helping create a more responsive planning system.”

She added that the study would provide reliable evidence to increase understanding of how inclusive and proactive plan making contributed to delivering sustainable communities. “Plan making is central to the delivery of sustainable development and sustainable communities. The n