HBF Planning Conference 2018

11 September, 2018

HBF Planning Conference 

Experts discuss Raynsford Review at HBF Planning Conference

The Raynsford Review has shown “overwhelming evidence that planning is not working as well as it should,” according to Nick Raynsford, president of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA).

Speaking at HBF’s Planning Conference held in Birmingham on September 11, Raynsford said that his review of the English planning system, which began last year with a final report scheduled for November, showed there were a number of conflicting views of “what’s good for planning”.

But one agreed area was a need for certainty within the system. “In a large number of discussions [as part of the review] there was a desire for more certainty of what’s happening,” Raynsford said. “We believe there are parts of the system that are less capricious and give more certainty.”

He acknowledged that within the planning system there had been “a more or less constant process of reform. New changes have come in before other ones have taken effect.”

The Raynsford Review gathered evidence from the industry through interviews, meetings and written evidence. In its interim report, published in May, it put forward nine propositions, with a call for a “powerful, people-centred planning system”. Also speaking at the conference, Dr Hugh Ellis, TCPA’s policy director, said that for those communities opposing development, “the anger is real. If we don’t do something, that’ll be reflected in a real backlash”.

But with local opposition, Raynsford called for “mechanisms that don’t kowtow to unreasonable resistance to development”.

Ellis also expressed concern over the bolstered role of neighbourhood plans through the revised National Planning Policy Framework. “The local plan should remain the core document. Neighbourhood plans should only deal with specific sets of issues. Local authorities have no control over neighbourhood plans – they can be anything.”

Meanwhile, Euan Mills, urban futures team leader of Future Cities Catapult, looked to the future of planning and the opportunities to digitise it. “Big tech companies are getting interested in planning,” he said. “We need to see tech as a way to help us, not replace us”.

The HBF Planning Conference is sponsored by DAC Beachcroft and Pegasus Group.


Matthew Taylor
Lord Matthew Taylor
Steve Quartermain
Steve Quartermain
Chief Planner, MHCLG
Mark Southgate
Mark Southgate
Director, The Planning Inspectorate
Jim Ward
Jim Ward
Director, Savills
Dr Nick White
Dr Nick White
Senior Advisor, Natural England
Euan Mills
Euan Mills
Urban Futures Team Lead, Future Cities Catapult
Nick Raynsford
Nick Raynsford
Rt Hon Nick Raynsford – TCPA President, TCPA
Andrew Whitaker
Planning Director, HBF
Hugh Ellis
Dr Hugh Ellis
Policy Director
Cian Bryan
Director, Planning Futures thinktank


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