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The National Planning Policy Framework

28th March, 2012

The new National Planning Policy Framework was introduced with immediate effect yesterday by Mr Greg Clark MP, the minister for planning.

It is claimed that this is a radical new approach to planning and in one move has removed over 1000 pages of planning guidance and replaced it by a new, simplified system of guidance set out in only 50 pages.

The aim of the new approach is to enable more public involvement at a local level with the planning process and is part of the coalition government’s commitment to “localism” and the devolution of power to a more community led level.

In introducing the new framework to parliament, Mr Clark identified three key objectives of the new approach;” to put unprecedented power in the hands of communities to shape the places in which they live; to better support growth to give the next generation the chance that our generation has had to have a decent home, and to allow the jobs to be created on which our prosperity depends; and to ensure that the places we cherish – our countryside, towns and cities – are bequeathed to the next generation in a better condition than they are now.”

The draft framework, published in July 2011 caused uproar from a number of interest groups, in particular, groups seeking to protect the countryside and open spaces such as the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The draft was seen as a “builder’s charter” with a presumption of “yes” to any development which was sustainable particularly where the local council did not have an up to date development plan.

The final version has seen some revisions; it still retains the fundamental principle that there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development but the default “yes” has been dropped. An inherent value is also now attributed to open countryside, as well as open spaces with special designations, to meet some of the concerns of the National trust. Whether the other changes will meet the concerns of those opposing the frameworks approach awaits to be seen.

If you would like to know more about the National Planning Policy Framework please email David Kerfoot or call him on 01244 405538.

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