A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


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Treasury man becomes the lead planning civil servant at DCLG

Peter Schofield has been appointed Director-General for Neighbourhoods at DCLG, with responsibility for housing and planning.  He moves from the Treasury where he led the Enterprise and Growth Unit. His new Permanent Secretary, said  “He will be met by a full in-tray, as we look to him to drive forward key reforms in housing, planning and on policies to stimulate economic growth”.

Now this looks interesting.  The Treasury clearly understood the planning system when the Chancellor announced the presumption in favour of sustainable development, and they had mastered the law too – planning decisions are taken in accordance with the development plan, but not if material considerations (such as Government policy on planning) indicate otherwise.  Section 54A (and its replacement, s.38(6) are a straitjacket on pragmatic and responsive planning and the presumption does indeed have the potential to override the local plan, though not a plan which takes it into account and implements it.  That must surely have been what the Treasury intended.  So is Mr Schofield there to see the Treasury’s proposal through?  And will there be similar moves across at the next Cabinet reshuffle?

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