A planning committee member on the planning reforms


Sachin Shah says the white paper has some good ideas but will neuter local democracy

I enjoy sitting on Harrow council’s planning committee because it is one of the few committees in local government that makes instant decisions. While many other council committees will spend years making recommendations, sometimes referring matters to other committees, a planning committee will, by the end of the meeting, have made decisions on what is in front of them.

Planning committee members from all political parties put a lot of effort into doing their role well. Carrying out site visits, reading reams of information and listening to residents give their views. So, for me it was disappointing to hear the government blame planning committee members like me and the planning system for the housing crisis. Of course, there are problems with the planning process. It is not perfect, and it can be frustrating for everyone. For me, as a planning committee member the reforms proposed in the government’s planning white paper raises three key questions.


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