Manchester outlines planning reform concerns
The city council said the proposals laid out in the Government’s planning white paper would further complicate the process of formulating local plans and present a “seismic negative challenge” in determining planning applications.
Local authorities across the country are in the process of responding to the proposals, which were published in August and are aimed at overhauling and simplifying the existing planning system.
In its response to the proposals, described as “radical” by Whitehall, Manchester City Council supports the existing planning system, saying it has been “effective in maintaining a flexible approach to planning the future of the city”.
The council added: “There is no evidence to suggest the existing approach in Manchester is hindering good-quality and sustainable development.”
The zoning approach to planning proposed by Government, whereby land will be placed into one of three categories – for growth, renewal or protection – could be too rigid to function in a “complex” urban area like Manchester where “areas of what might be categorised as growth, renewal and protection are intertwined”, according to the council.
If the proposals had a similar impact on the system as previous attempts to overhaul the planning process, they could serve to make it more complicated, the council added.
Additionally, Manchester warned that implementing permissions in principle for certain areas would not speed up decision making as the Government hopes, but rather serve to overload the local plan making process and negatively impact the “long established approach of determining planning applications”.
Manchester also has “significant doubts” over whether the Government’s target of reducing the amount of time it takes for councils to formulate a local plan to 30 months from an average of seven years can be met.