Planning Appeal Processes and Possible Outcomes
Local Planning and Planning Decisions in England and Wales
Planning is one of the most important steps in the development of effective policies to assist in addressing various social, political, and economic issues in the society. Basically, planning refers to the process of identifying the activities necessary to attain the desiredgoal (Malpass, 2003). In other words, planning is a description of the processes, which will be needed to achieve the desired results. For instance, planning encompasses the creation and maintenance of a plan. In this regard, planning takes place at the initial stages of policy development and consist of the preparation of action steps to achieve particular goals. In the field of public policy, every country, state or local authorities have specific procedures of developing plans and making planning decisions (Cole and Goodchild, 2000). In this paper, the reviewer explores how planning decisions are made in England and Wales and the benefits of the local planning policy in planning decisions.
The history of the contemporary UK town and country planning systems can be traced back to the post-war periods of the late 1940s. During this period, many people were concerned about the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation of the previous centuries and economic effects of war. These concerns included urban sprawl and pollution (Cole and Goodchild, 2000). Earlier legislation, such as the Housing and Town Planning Act 1909, the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919, the Town Planning Act 1925, and the Town and Country Planning Act 1932,made great strides towards effective urban planning but failed to address these concerns. During the Second World War, various royal commissions were instituted to look at the adverse effects of industrialization and urbanization around the country. These commissions were the Barlow Commission (1940) into the distribution of industrial population, the Scott Committee into rural land use (1941), the Uthwatt Committee into compensation and betterment (1942), and the Reith Report into New Towns (1947) (Malpass, 2003). Besides, Patrick Abercrombie came up with the Greater London Plan, which recommended moving 1.5 million people from London to new and expanded towns. These efforts lead to the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act.
The 1947 Act provided a framework for the modern town and country planning in England and Wales. The Act introduced planning permissions, which are required for land development. As a result, land ownership no longer guaranteed one the right to develop the land. For effective management of the planning permission requirements, the Act reorganised the planning system from 1400 existing planning authorities to only 145 county and borough councils (Cole and Goodchild, 2000). Each county or borough was now required to prepare their own comprehensive development plan. They were also given powers to redevelop land and use compulsory purchase orders to buy and lease land to private developers. The Act stated that all development values were vested in the state thus £300 million was set aside to be used in compensation of landowners (Spicker, 2019). In this case, the Act nationalized the right to develop the land.
Nevertheless, since 1947, the planning system in England and Wales has undergone numerous changes. These changes were consolidated in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990). TCPA 1990 superseded and made several changes to the 1947 Act. For instance, TCPA 1990 distinguished plans into forward planning, development control, and controls of the current development (House of Commons, 2013). This Act also transferred significant decision-making powers to private landowners in public ownership. Section 102 of the Act allowed for the discontinuance of land use, alteration, or removal of buildings. Under this section, the local planning authority was empowered to give notices in the interest of appropriate planning in a particular area. On the other hand, section 106 allowed for the establishment of planning agreements that must be met by developers so as to get planning permission. Since TCPA 1990, further alterations have been made to the Act. For example, the Localism Act of 2011 led to the introduction of a legal provision under which local communities could be able to develop their neighbourhood plans (Cherry and Rogers, 2018).
Planning systems in England and Wales are vital in shaping new development across the country and ensuring that the development impact positively on the people, economy, and the environment. The system ensures that all developments are consistent with the public interests while also making the places where people live and work attractive, vibrant, and well designed (Cullingworth and Nadin, 2002). World War 2 also had a significant impact on urban and city planning in England and Wales (Larkham and Adams, 2011). As London was ravaged by war, best known planners led by Professor Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Sir (later Lord) William Holford came up with action plan that led to the city’s replanning and rebuilding. Some of the core components of a successful plan suggested by these planners include realignment of the national and regional patterns of reconstruction, preserving and developing a town’s individual character, catering for the collective needs of the community and ensuring that the plan is practical (North, 2003). These planning activities support regeneration that meets the need of the local communities, such as affordable housing and limits unacceptable environmental damage.
According to Raco (2007) contemporary local plans in England and Wales are just derivations from the Abercrombie’s Great London Plan and the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. However, modern technologies have made the new planning processes to be more efficient, effective and convenient (Larkham and Adams, 2011). For instance, one of the most important aspects of these planning systems is the need for planning permission from a local planning authority. The local planning stipulates how can get a planning permission. For example, to get planning permission, the person must first submit a planning application. Today, most local authorities in England and Wales allow for online submission of planning and building control applications. These improvements in the application process have led to more than 500000 planning applications being submitted annually (Spicker, 2019).
Besides, the planning system allows for a delegated authority to ensure that all the views regarding the proposed development are considered. Regarding planning permission, local planning authorities (LPA) use delegated powers to deal with the planningapplication (Cherry and Rogers, 2018). These delegated powers or authority enable planning officers to determine applications themselves without relying on a decision of the planning committee. Most of the minor applications are dealt with in this manner. In addition, the local planning authority is required to publicise all the planning applications it receives. In case the application is for a major development, the local authority must publish a notice on the local newspaper and notify the owners or occupiers of the adjoining properties (North, 2003). Apart from inviting public opinions on the development, local planning authorities must also consult all the organisations that may have an interest in the proposed development (House of Commons, 2013). Some of the organisations that may have an interest in the development include local highways authority, environment agency, and Natural England. Members of the public are given up to 21 days to give their views on the planning applications. After considering all the views, the local authority has the powers to either approve or refuse it. In either case, the authority must provide justification for the decision (Grimwood, 2018).
Normally, the local authority is expected to make the decision in eight weeks. However, the decision can sometimes take longer. In such a case, the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State with the planning responsibility. In other cases, the application could involve concerns relating to developments on or around the Green Belt, outside the town centres, World Heritage sites, or flood-proneareas (Cullingworth and Nadin, 2002). In these cases, the local authority should inform the Secretary of State who would then take over the application and make a decision following a public inquiry.