We’ve been working with TPS Planning and Brodies, helping Scottish Councillors come to terms with Local Review Bodies. It’s a town planning fairy tale – everything looks Grimm at first but our ugly ducklings ultimately emerge as swans, gliding gracefully through a murky pond of development plans and material considerations. If LRB don’t work, it won’t be down to lack of effort from our finest local representatives, who generally seem willing to meet this new challenge head on.
Change is at the heart of planning and urban design – but we need to see the issues of the day in the wider context and offer flexible solutions. We also need to realise some concepts are no longer valid. Zoning policy in the 1960s removed ‘bad neighbour‘ industrial uses from residential areas. Do we really think 21st Century office jobs are incompatible with homes? Are we building real communities or
We’re encouraging Councillors to see the Local Development Plan as an embodiment of their vision and an instrument for change. They seem to like that idea. Many of them have a surprising appreciation of the benefits of ‘urbanism‘ over ‘suburbanism’. Some are exploring place making in conjunction with the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, enabled by the Scottish Government. Planning departments may need to modernise their outlook, or our newly empowered Councillors could find themselves ahead of the game.
Ultimately, we might well end up back where we started, with homes next to jobs and services, walkable neighbourhoods and compact towns and villages. A happy ending?