New Chief Planner in Action!
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's new Chief Planner, Joanna Averley, has published her first letter in the role.
Ms Averley recounts the fact that it has been a busy Summer for planning policy – both with policy proposals (as outlined in the Planning White Paper) and with the implementation of new measures (including those to support the response to the pandemic). She advises that the coming months promise to be equally busy.
One of her key messages to local authorities is that they are strongly encouraged to continue in the preparation and adoption of local plans. She advises that the Ministry have been receiving anecdotal feedback that some local authorities may be considering pausing or slowing down the preparation of their local plans, in part due to the uncertainty of when the proposals outlined in “Planning for the Future” come into force. The Chief Planner advises there will be a period of policy development after the receipt of the responses to the White Paper, which in turn will be followed by the preparation and progress of any legislation required to implement the planning reforms. This will take some time and it’s therefore important that local areas have a plan in place.
The Chief Planner also advises that they want to see neighbourhood plans being progressed and supported by local authorities through the system, to give more communities a greater role in shaping the development and growth of their local areas.
So, the clear message of the Chief Planner is '...please don’t let uncertainty stop you from progressing your work, particularly in respect to the preparation of your plans for your area or your projects. It’s important that we try not to lose momentum and that we have strong plans which can facilitate our recovery from the impacts of the pandemic; and importantly that address our communities housing needs and the economic challenges that lie ahead.'