Party promises rethink of current system with results due next year

jeremy corbyn

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Labour has the appeals system in its sights as it embarks on its new review to restore people power in planning.

The party’s “root and branch rethink” of the planning system was officially launched at the party conference in Liverpool last night (Sunday).

Roberta Blackman-Woods, the party’s planning spokesperson, told the launch event at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool that the exercise aims to deliver a “system of local plan making that is genuinely democratic’’.

The review, which reflects leader Jeremy Corbyn’s enthusiasm for grassroots empowerment, will aim to give local people a say over what their area will look like in 20 to 25 years’ time.

It will include a look at whether the appeals system and the Planning Inspectorate, which administers it, is ‘fit for purpose’.

She said: “The Planning Inspectorate is in our sights.”

Under the current planning system, developers from across England can appeal to the Bristol-based inspectorate if their application has been turned down or if the local council has spent too much time taking the decision.

But Blackman-Woods told the launch event that more community involvement when shaping local plans would save time later on in the process when individual applications are being determined.

She said the review would also cover modern methods of construction, energy efficiency, developer contributions and the connections between the different tiers of neighbourhood, local, regional and national planning.

The review is designed to future proof the planning system, Blackman-Woods said, who added: “Buildings should be fit for purpose for the 22nd century not just the 21st.”

The broad-based commission will include representatives of professional bodies like RICS and RIBA as well as industry organisations like the British Property Federation and the Federation of Master Builders.

The commission will be publishing a call for evidence on the 25 October after which it will hold a series of regional meetings, kicking off in Liverpool. The review’s conclusions, which are due to be delivered next year, will then feed into Labour’s wider policy making process.