An interesting insight into Planning from Lord Richard Rogers, interviewed by Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme yesterday (14th November)
Eddie Mair: “How much does planning get in your way?”
Richard Rogers: “Planning gets in ones way everywhere. I work a lot as adviser to a number of different countries (I’m working on Paris for the President) and they [planners] are always a problem…but then there’s a sort of natural relationship: planning is to give some order to what you’re doing. You drive on the left hand side or whatever – and the right hand side if you’re on the continent: that’s a basic – so you need Planning at that level.
Having said that, it can be extremely annoying – but something like 85% of all planning applications get planning and a very large number of those get it within the 2 or 3 months that they’re meant to.
That said, as an architect I’ve had a few problems [with planning] in my life- but I think it’s worth it”.
I think that’s what’s called a love-hate relationship. Lord Rogers appears, again, to be a slightly reluctant fan of planning – clearly a natural planner who strayed misguidedly in to architecture at an early stage!
His analogy with driving and, by implication, the Highway Code is interesting. Without road laws and a driving code, we’d all be crashing in to each other and making very little progress. It’s pretty much the same with Planning – a necessary restriction to ensure orderly progress. Well, that’s the theory anyway. The main difference seems to be that the Highway Code sets out the rules of the road in 152 pages – but the NPPF has had to do it for planning in 100 fewer! Let’s hope we don’t all end up crashing into each other after all just because someone decided to cut a few too many pages.