Shahriar Nasser has written in the Architects Journal about the need to invest in the UK’s under-resourced planning system.
Want to help the UK economy? Invest in our creaking planning system.
Our poorly resourced planning system adds unnecessary obstacles to the kind of projects that are essential if our economy is to flourish once more, says Belsize Architects’ Shahriar Nasser
There is a great deal of public discussion about planning, yet it remains very much a political
football, tossed back and forth with lots of talk and little action. Meanwhile, the current shortcomings
in the system remain a major drag on ‘growth’, the one thing universally accepted as the
prerequisite for all the other public policy goals for which there is much aspiration but no cash.
We were ourselves reminded yet again how much good planning processes matter by a recent
unsatisfactory and wasteful experience with an application for a very small project, to which I will
There are planning challenges for projects of all sizes, though they differ very much in their form.
You can distinguish, admittedly in very broad terms, between large, medium and small-sized
applications, particularly in the resource’s councils devote to them.
Large housing projects are generally able to get the planners’ attention and get processed relatively
speedily, albeit at some cost, and with the obvious risk of major public controversy. Nevertheless,
councils have a considerable incentive to help progress proposals as smoothly as possible so that
housing targets can be met.
Medium-sized housing projects get a reasonable amount of attention. There may be obstacles on
the way and progress may be slower, but there is a system of pre-apps which, in our experience,
generally works rationally, albeit with some cost, for developers who may have the resources to
Read the article here.