Whilst not making an observation as to the desirability or otherwise of the proposals in the document discussed below, we no longer have the reserves, as a society, to make continual and seemly random changes to our institutions and governance.
We ignore the ‘virtuous circle’ at or peril
local empowerment with national need
The Conservative policy green paper ‘Control Shift – Returning Power to Local Communities’ includes proposals to remove regional government through the following activities:
Abolishing of regional planning and housing powers exercised by regional government;
Abolishing the Government Office for London and devolve its functions to London boroughs or the Mayoralty and Greater London Authority, as appropriate;
Stripping the Regional Development Agencies of their powers over planning; and giving local governments the power to establish their own local enterprise partnerships to take over development functions from RDAs; and
Replacing the Infrastructure Planning Commission with speeded up public enquiries for infrastructure development or private/hybrid legislation for major projects.
Speaking about the role of regional governance Gideon Amos added:
“The proposal to scrap the RDAs raises a number of important questions such as what will happen to key infrastructure and development projects for which Regional Spatial Strategies provide the key route to permission. A Conservative government would need to figure out new ways to deliver regional partnership projects whose aims are more than just local. We remain committed to the need for regional planning and look forward to more detail on how authorities will work together successfully to make sure essential regional-scale projects are not abandoned.”
National and regional policies will always be necessary and the TCPA will continue to work with all political parties on how to balance these priorities with those of local communities.