The Importance of Planning Officers

Property is such an important part of everything we do that good robust planning regulation is vital in keeping urban sprawl in check.

The Green Belt was first mooted in 1935 and then introduced in 1947 as part of The Town & Country Planning Act, so that our Cities, Towns, and historic villages, were kept separate and maintained something of their own identity. Divided by a swath of green that made up the so called greenbelt!

Exceptional, and unforeseen, population growth, has meant some adjustments to boundaries but without professional planning officers the damage to our greenbelt would have been far worse.

Often maligned by some in the industry, planning officers are a vital part of delivering permissions that matter, especially, but not exclusively, of course, in connection with housing.

Most planning officers aren’t particularly well paid in my view, especially considering their professionalism. Just as relevant to the industry though, in a wider sense at least, is the fact that there just isn’t enough of them!

If we want to build the additional 200,000 homes we need annually, we need more planning officers who are better paid and then motivated to do such an important job.

Hoping that the existing system will deliver the homes needed by British families when many planning officers are underpaid and work part time is ludicrous and needs a major rethink.

Higher application fees would help & most developers I know would be willing to pay them for a quicker decision on their applications.

Most planning officers I have met in a career approaching its 50th year have been exactly like you and me. They eat drink and enjoy the same things that titans of homebuilding do! They are not the enemy.

Bad management by successive governments, Conservative, Coalition, & Labour, have caused the very serious housing shortage. It is not the fault of professional planning officers who often get it in the neck for policies originating in Westminster.

We need more officers and we need to pay them better. Only then can we demand more from the system they try desperately to represent.

It is absolutely vital that we all work together to deliver more homes across the board. More affordable for rent on regulated long term tenancies, more first time buyer houses for young, and even older people, and even large detached houses for aspirational families with the financial means to move up the housing ladder and make way for others to move up too!

We could also do with thousands of very small solo units in city centres. In my day they were called bedsits and people loved them. One room with a kitchen and shared bathroom. Somewhere young people can escape the family nest and start building a life of their own. Perhaps today, one room with small kitchen and shower room would be better? After all it is 2017!

I would like to see these mass produced for regulated rents so that currently single homeless people can get off our streets and into a warm & comfortable bed at night, in a home they can call their own. It would also give them an address so that finding a job might be easier.

This isn’t 1817, it is 2017 as I have already said, and we should not be allowing fellow human beings to sleep in shop doorways or experience other inhuman living conditions, regardless of any supposed shortcomings or predilection to alcohol or drugs.

We, as a society, must be bigger than that! Britain must show the world that the world’s oldest continuous democracy cares about all of its citizens, rich, poor, young, old, black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other minority, or majority, come to that!

Every human life matters and we need our professional planning officers to help deliver the homes needed by an advanced democratic society such as the United Kingdom.

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