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Political Party Planning Policies

1st May, 2015

With the General Election less than a week away, policies relating to Planning and the built environment are playing an increasingly important part in political parties’ attempt to woo voters.

Conservative Polices

• Ensure local people have more control over planning by encouraging neighbourhood planning.
• Green Belt and other Environmental designations to be protected.
• Support locally led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester.
• Prioritise brownfield development and introduce ‘Housing Zones’ to convert brownfield sites into new housing.
• Build 200,000 new starter homes at 20% below market price, exclusively for first time buyers under 40.

Labour Policies

• To keep planning laws as they are and to strengthen the ‘brownfield first’ policy.
• Councils will be given the power to require particular types of shops to apply for planning permission, allowing them to restrict the number of payday lenders or other shops that are clustering on a single high street.
• Introduction of a ‘Green Plan’ which would protect public forests.
• Implement the recommendations of the Lyons Review by building at least 200,000 homes by 2020.
• Establish a National Infrastructure Commission to assess how best to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.

Liberal Democrat Policies

• Create National Nature Parks to expand accessible green space.
• Create a Community Right of Appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved Neighbourhood Plan.
• Introduce the concept of ‘landscape scale planning’ and ensure that new developments promote walking, cycling, car-sharing and public transport.
• Increase the rate of house building to 300,000 a year.
• Cease permitted development rights for converting offices into residential accommodation.

Plaid Cymru Policies

• Wholesale reform of the Welsh planning system to encourage the development of a low carbon economy, business growth and sustainable communities.
• Change planning policy to presume in favour of micro, small-scale or community- owned renewable energy projects and encourage hydro-electric schemes.
• Issue updated guidance on TAN 20: Planning and the Welsh Language and consider the introduction of an objective process for assessing the impact of development on the Welsh Language.
• Increase the borrowing powers in the Wales Act to invest in Welsh infrastructure projects.

Green Party Policies

• Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, improved agri-environment schemes and the planning system.
• Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and in particular its presumption in favour of development, and put planning back in the hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans
• Concentrate on expanding mature renewable technologies such as wind energy and solar PV in the period until 2030 and bringing down costs, in part by reducing planning constraints, including those for onshore wind.
• restricting the right of applicants to appeal only where there has been an error in the planning process

UKIP Policies

• Replace the NPPF and introduce fresh national planning guidelines that will prioritise brownfield sites for new housing and protect the Green belt – a presumption in favour of conservation.
• Incentivising building on brownfield land with the aim of building one million homes on brownfield sites by 2025.

For further information on proposed changes to the planning system, or planning advice generally, please contact James Thomas on 01244 40404 or email [email protected]rs.com.

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