This Telegraph piece from the weekend shows Labour’s strategists have the easier task because they can cynically choose to ignore the lessons of this Government and keep playing the localism card. Localism is the policy of opposition. Not only is it a well-meaning and attractive-sounding counterweight to 'top-down' Government planning via the Planning Inspectorate, but it is also the default setting of local residents faced with new development.
What then might the next parliament bring? History shows a tendency for new Governments to mark their arrival with planning legislation or reform so what might be expected if the Conservatives or Labour win outright next year? Whilst I am not sure I agree with David Cameron's assertion that planning has been "radically changed", it is certainly true that the development management process has been liberalised and think tanks like Policy Exchange will be promoting a stream-lined policy regime with local communities receiving direct payments for accepting new development. Labour has announced a call for decentralisation based around local economic areas, which might yield a return to the sub-regional planning advocated by the Centre For Cities.
What can be said with certainty is that when the political landscape changes, a change in the planning landscape is never far behind.