Award-winning communications experts in the built environment

New 50 Shades of Planning Podcast – What does a good local plan look like?


Local plan-making is in something of a crisis. Lichfields reported in April 2022 on the 11 local plans that had at that time been overtly delayed, paused or withdrawn. Indeed the number of plans published in draft, submitted for examination and adopted in 2022 were all at the lowest level for a decade.

This year is likely to be little better as more and more LPAs initially waited for, and more latterly are digesting, a NPPF consultation and the direction of the reform agenda. Lichfields are now reporting that 38 LPAs have overtly delayed, paused or withdrawn their plans, and this does not include those that are covertly doing so.

For every local plan that has fallen away because of Green Belt, housing numbers and Duty-to-Cooperate-related matters is a local plan that is not progressing a positive response to, for example, climate change, economic growth, and health and wellbeing.

The NPPF consultation states that the Levelling-Up & Regeneration Bill will put the foundations in place for delivering a genuinely plan-led system, but, in eschewing ‘the big issues’ and lowering the bar for plans to get over in order to be sound, it conveys a distinctly unambitious sense that any plan is better than a proper plan.

What are the barriers to plan-making and how can they to be overcome? What is the positive case for plan-making and how can it be better made? What does a good local plan look like?

Sam Stafford puts these questions to John Cheston, Ian Butt, Kim Tagliarini, Chris Outersides and Catriona Riddell.

John Cheston is Planning Policy Manager at Buckinghamshire Council. Ian Butt is Head of Place & Policy at Castle Point Borough Council. Kim is Head of Planning & Environmental Health at Elmbridge Council. Chris is Strategic Plan Director at South West Hertfordshire. Catriona is a Director at Catriona Riddell & Associates.

If you’d like to take part in the podcast or want help managing or launching your own podcast then please get in touch on 0161 359 4100 or email Kevin Whitmore.

Kevin Whitmore BECG
Written by: Kevin Whitmore


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