Friday, 10 December 2010
Christine Murray of the Architects' Journal on the Localism Bill:
"What might have been a bit of empty rhetoric is real. This week’s Localism Bill is proving to be the cornerstone of the mooted Big Society. As the AJ went to press, sneak previews of the bill reveal upheaval aplenty for the planning system, but more crucially, the profession.
So what does Localism mean for architects? Two things so far:
1) Less work for architects
The public will be encouraged to submit their own planning applications, and more developments will be designated as permitted development - stripping away bread-and-butter work for small practices and sole practitioners.
2) Unpaid work for architects
Under the new bill, councils will have a duty to adopt Neighbourhood Plans for their area which will be decided on by public referendum. Community groups will also have increased power in reviewing and deciding on planning applications. Should architects elect be involved in these processes, their consultation is unlikely to be paid.
In this new paradigm, architects no longer have just one client to satisfy, but a whole parish or neighbourhood. They will need to engage in community consultations at several stages to ensure their scheme has been adequately anointed.
As I spoke to developers, planning consultants and community leaders this week, their advice to architects was that Localism is here, and they had better get used to it, and fast."