Last edited 18 Jun 2020

Chief planner

In England, the term ‘chief planner’ refers to the chief planner in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. There are also chief planners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In June 2020, it was announced that Joanna Averley had been appointed as the first female chief planner.

In the government response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on the built environment, published on 8 November 2016, the government suggest that the chief planner:

‘Provides the central leadership to ensure the planning system supports the delivery of housing growth, climate change, sustainable economic development and works to protect and enhance the natural environment ‘The Chief Planner’s priorities include helping local authorities deliver their Local Plans for better housing and sustainable communities and to ensure that planning promotes the development of prosperous and vibrant communities.’

This response was provided following a recommendation from the House of Lords Select Committee on the built environment that a new role of Chief Built Environment Adviser should be created, following the scrapping of the position of Chief Construction Adviser. The government however rejected the recommendation, suggesting that the transfer of responsibilities for architecture from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to the Department for Communities and Local Government would ensure housing and planning policy was more closely aligned with good architecture. They suggested instead that the Chief Planner role would be developed to:

‘…include discussing and facilitating communication and implementation of policy on the built environment and to identifying and sharing good practice across and beyond Government.’

This is similar to the role of Chief Built Environment Advisor role proposed by the Select Committee, whish was intended to integrate planning policy and safeguard high standards and good practice across government departments, but is seen by some as a misunderstanding of the role of the Chief Construction Adviser, which was to oversee the implementation of the Government Construction Strategy.

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