The Planning Manifesto – launched on Tuesday – outlines a 12-point action plan to revise the system, speeding up the process by which new retail developments can be completed.
Among the BPF’s requirements is a solution to the lack of funding throughout the planning system. It believes local authorities should be encouraged to accept financial backing from developers to help speed up individual schemes.
Another recommendation focuses on recruitment. It is calling on the Government to improve the way it hires high-level planners, warning that a lack of funding has resulted in too few quality professionals being recruited.
The manifesto also criticises the Government for failing to prevent those highly trained professionals becoming involved in more minor areas of planning. It argues that these should be overseen by less experienced planning technicians.
Sainsbury’s head of town planning Sue Wilcox is leading the recommendations. She said: “We need to reform the way we work. The planning system is under-resourced in this country, so it takes longer than it needs to.
“We’ve seen examples of developers having to resubmit entire applications simply because they changed minor things like the colour of trees.”
She added that retailers need a clear and consistent planning system. “This manifesto is a constructive approach to looking at ways to make the system more efficient.”
For full details of the Planning Manifesto, visit www.bpf.org.uk.