Garden-city lobby group calls for bolstered new towns legislation and NPPF tweaks

Aerial view of Hume Square at Chapelton

MPs are being urged to strengthen the nation’s planning system after the general election to end a period of “deregulation and demoralisation” that campaigners claim is damaging towns, cities and the countryside.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is urging whoever takes power after 7 May to “restore the importance of planning as a key tool in delivering much-needed new homes and communities”.

It wants to see the creation of a new legally-defined purpose for planning, based on sustainable development; the updating and effective deployment of New Towns legislation; and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework to place social justice, equality and climate change at the heart of planning decisions. 

The TCPA’s manifesto also calls for stronger measures to ensure that councils work together to meet housing need.

Chief executive Kate Henderson said the planning system was being “continually undermined and devalued” though significant reforms and deregulation. 

“Planning has lost all sense of the progressive social values that once lay at its core, and unless we are careful is at risk of being destroyed altogether,” she said. 

“A new government must act to restore the prominence of planning as an essential element to create the new homes, communities and infrastructure that the nation so desperately needs. 

“For the sake of our children and grandchildren, planning must be seen as a positive proactive force for good and must be placed at the centre of political debate.”

The four-page TCPA manifesto can be read here.