Planning enforcement England: At the crossroads

Project details

Full project title: Planning enforcement England: At the crossroads

Duration: January 2013-December 2014

Project Leader for SPE: Adam Sheppard

Research partners/collaborators:

  • Britnell, S (external consultant)
  • Cooke, J (external consultant)
  • Royal Town Planning Institute: Network for Planning Enforcement

Project summary

Planning Enforcement as a service, profession and activity has historically enjoyed far less focus and resources than the other elements within the planning trinity. Despite a brief renaissance during the mid-noughties the unprecedented budget cuts facing local authorities and the structural, procedural, regulatory and resource changes that have been brought about by the coalition government’s reforms to planning generally, has once again forced planning enforcement out in to the cold. There is real concern that not only is the momentum of the positive changes made over the last decade being lost, but that planning enforcement faces a very fundamental questioning of its worth.

Key outputs

Britnell, S. Cooke, J. Sheppard, A (2014) Planning enforcement England: At the crossroads. UWE Bristol.

Associated outputs:

  • Britnell, S. Cooke, J. and Sheppard, A (2014) Enforcement review: Planning Enforcement within the new agenda and climate. Paper presented at RTPI North West regional conference, Manchester, October 2014
  • Britnell, S. Cooke, J. Morris, J and Sheppard, A (2013) The Cinderella service: Planning enforcement within the new agenda. Paper presented at UK International Planning Research Conference (UKIPRC), UWE Bristol, September 2013
  • Britnell, S and Sheppard, A (2013) Planning enforcement: The need to avoid a requiem for planning enforcement Town & Country Planning, June 2013

Key findings

  • The wider planning profession, government and academia have failed to fully appreciate the value of planning enforcement.
  • The system itself does not appear to be fundamentally flawed.
  • The continued under investment and current management of planning enforcement services across the country threatens to undermine the profession and those who work within it.
  • The implications of this are serious, and include a degraded environment and abused planning system.
  • Examples of good practice are emerging and organisationally the profession is beginning to raise the profile of enforcement.
  • Much more is needed to be done before the value of planning enforcement to the effective management of the built and natural environment is fully appreciated.

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