Posted by: Adam Roake | January 31, 2009

T and CP – Why so Slow part2

Colin makes an interesting point (see Town and Country Planning – Why is it so slow?)

– it would be great if planning could be more pro-active. 

But how could that happen in the current system.  If you don’t own the land, it becomes almost impossible to force the issue – Compulsory Purchase is possible but really a very last resort.  It comes down to the basic issue of public good versus private benefit, which is inevitable in a mixed economy such as ours. 

I fear that whilst the public sector might be good at bringing public sector agencies together, it is not so clever at understanding private sector drivers and has a particular difficulty with the greed that underlies the profit motive.  I don’t think the planning system can be pro-active, unless it is prepared to embrace and adequately pay for the profit motive in particular and private sector drivers generally. 

To be fair, the Homes and Communities Agency (aka English Partnerships) ( make a reasonable stab at this.  The alternative is to “do it yourself” along the People for Profit ( ) model. 



  1. There’s a good bit of truth in these comments and the level of understanding o private sector objectives can be very patchy indeed – some authorities being just hostile.

    But there’s a flip side to that coin which is being thrown into focus at the moment and that is the equal lack of understanding from the vast majoroty of developers into the motives of the public sector and, in particular, their longer terms commitments in terms of place-making, sustainability and economic growth.

    There are some developers who are excellent in this respect but the vast majority are not and in this period when public sector support can mean the difference between schemes taking place or falling away many will have to learn fast – or get the right help.

  2. It’s like both sides speak a different language and, because were British, each side just speaks slower and louder in their own language. Not usually a very productive way of doing business!!

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