The Government’s New Planning Policies Are Up For Consultation

Things have just become even more complicated regarding planning.

This week the government has announced a new “Draft National Planning Policy Framework” which is now up for consultation until October 17th.

You can download the document from this page here and you can respond to the consultation online from this page here.

What does it all mean in practice? It’s difficult to be sure till we’ve read it thoroughly and had some bits explained, but here’s a couple of extracts:

14. At the heart of the planning system is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan making and decision taking. Local planning authorities should plan positively for new development, and approve all individual proposals wherever possible. Local planning authorities should:
? prepare Local Plans on the basis that objectively assessed development needs should be met, and with sufficient flexibility to respond to rapid shifts in demand or other economic changes
? approve development proposals that accord with statutory plans without delay; and
? grant permission where the plan is absent, silent, indeterminate or where relevant policies are out of date.
All of these policies should apply unless the adverse impacts of allowing development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole.
15. All plans should be based upon and contain the presumption in favour of sustainable development as their starting point, with clear policies that will guide how the presumption will be applied locally

…..
17. The application of the presumption will have implications for how communities engage in neighbourhood planning. Critically, it will mean that neighbourhoods should:
? develop plans that support the strategic development needs set out in Local Plans, including policies for housing and economic development
? plan positively to support local development, with the power to promote more development than is set out in the Local Plan; and
? identify opportunities to use neighbourhood development orders to grant planning permission for developments that are consistent with an adopted neighbourhood plan.

The Guardian writes about it here. The British Property Federation -speaking for big landowners of superstore sites etc supports the proposals here:

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Planning policy should be streamlined, succinct and to the point if it is to deliver the growth and sustainable development that this country needs.

“The new draft Framework follows closely the version submitted by the Practitioners Advisory Group which fully incorporated these principles. On that basis we will have no problem in giving today’s Framework our ringing endorsement.”

But the National Trust has ‘grave concerns’ here:

The National Trust today signalled our grave concerns over the Government?s planning reforms, warning that the proposed changes could lead to unchecked and damaging development in the undesignated countryside on a scale not seen since the 1930s.
The draft of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published by the Government yesterday, contains a core presumption that the default answer to any proposed development will be ?yes?.
This finally sounds the death-knell to the principle established in the 1940s that the planning system should be used to protect what is most special in the landscape, creating a tool to promote economic growth in its stead.

Chris Black has asked the District Council if we will have a special meeting to discuss this.