What are we waiting for…?

Planning Minister Greg Clark has reminded his Parliamentary colleagues that the final NPPF will be published ‘by the end of March’. If it happens after the House of Commons recess – starting on 9 February – it’s anyone’s guess whether the Government will go for a date in late February or early March, or take it right to the end of the month. With the Budget falling on 21 March, it’s likely to be a busy month all round.

While we wait for the final document, here’s a steer on exactly what changes we’ll be looking for in the final document. These are the main points from our consultation response we submitted in October:

  • ‘Presumption in favour of sustainable development’: We’re looking for a genuine steer to put sustainable development (see next point) at the heart of all local plans. We want to see sensible transition arrangements put in place for local authorities, the removal of the ‘default yes’ to planning applications where no plan is in place, and removal of the phrase ‘significantly and demonstrably’ as it is unqualified and impractical.
  • Definition of sustainable development: There must be  a clear, robust and practical definition written into the NPPF and reflected throughout, and it must include environmental limits.
  • ‘Duty to cooperate’: This should be made stronger, with clear guidance on how this will operate
  • Viability: There should be no suggestion in the NPPF that unsustainable development can proceed if measures to make it sustainable are deemed to make it unviable. Protection of natural assets should not be waived on this basis either.
  • Brownfield first: There should be priority given to allocating previously developed land, where it’s located appropriately, and has little biodiversity value.
  • Town centre first: This should be made explicit, and should include office buildings
  • Housing: The instruction to provide a 20% uplift on the five year housing land supply should be removed, and windfall sites should be added.
  • Affordable housing: We want to see a stronger emphasis on the importance of affordable housing as part of the plan-making and decision-making process.
  • Individual subject sections within NPPF need to show more balance: They are wide open to interpretation, and full of get-out clauses such as ‘where reasonable’ or ‘where practical’ – this just isn’t good enough.

We’ve compared this list with the CLG Select Committee report, published back in December, and we’re reassured that there’s a very close resemblance.

Mr Clark’s commitment to take the Select Committee report seriously, gives us room to hope for a final NPPF which is fit for purpose, although only time will tell…

Blog by Claire Graves, National Trust Senior Press Officer

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15 thoughts on “What are we waiting for…?

  1. Can you please include items like wind farms in your consultation?
    I agree that brown field sites should be used in preference to virgin land, but am alarmed that people who have already had to contend with having motorways foisted upon them seem to be open game for anything else that is rubbish to be put by them too. For example as it is a motorway corridor this seems to be where any telecommunication masts can be stuck and now every wind farm application seems to be being proposed there too. This is unacceptable and I do trust that this is something the trust will take up as an issue too.

  2. Wind farms are my main concern by far. Is it possible to have special provisions for structures over 15 metres high?

  3. At the moment we are questioning a planning decision for an out of scale agricultural building (2700 sq mtrs 11mtrs high) on an 83mtr ridge in the Cornwall (Roseland) AONB. Cornwall Council planners do not appear to understand their duty of regard under the CRoW act 2000 and we can not find any government body to challenge their apparent disregard of the law.It has been sugested that the only route open to us is the High Court.This can’t be right.

  4. Good work.

    I’ve just e-mailed my MP again. Once media interest moves on to other things, we can’t let the politicians forget their constituents are still waiting for the right result.

    Giles

  5. I agree with those who feel wind turbines need more prominent consideration. While I am delighted at the growing clamour for a reduction in grants for wind turbines (which makes farmers particularly susceptible to pushy turbine companies), the spread of turbine blight nationwide will, if not checked quickly, do long term damage to our precious landscape resource. The recent relaxing of planning controls on turbines of 12 metres or less is a start, but further effort is required in the case of onshore monsters!
    I would also like to include a plug for greater NT effort to get back into use the huge number of empty homes nationwide, following the good work of recent TV campaigns. While not directly a planning issue or part of this bill, progress here would reduce pressure on the planning system across the board. Finally, the definition of sustainable development is a great opportunity to insist on just that. Porous road surfaces, rainwater harvesting, grey water systems, and so on….

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  7. I fully support the previous comments regarding wind farms. While ruining our countryside and making insufficient contribution to the “green energy” pledge I wonder if the actual manufacturing process of the wind turbines causes more environmental damage

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