The truth has slowly but surely come out over the Conservative’s true intentions in regards to planning. First we find out over the weekend that the NPPF was written by developers, for developers. And then evidence is produced that shows the planning reforms were, and I quote one of the people that wrote them, “not meant to be the opportunity for communities to resist development. It’s meant to be part of a strategy which encourages greater development”. All of this has put a huge question of doubt over Clark’s strained attempts to show that the planning reforms were there to promote local interests, and more importantly, over the Conservative’s whole localism project.
John Rhodes, who helped write the Draft National Planning Policy Framework, said the new rules would inevitably mean “more development, not less” despite ministers’ promises to give residents more powers. The comments by Mr Rhodes, a leading planning consultant, will raise questions over Ministers’ claims about the framework and their “localism” agenda.
It is one of life’s little oddities that the concept of political spin is still associated with yesterday’s men – Blair, Brown, Campbell and Mandelson. But it should now be admitted that, when it comes to disguising nasty policies with warm words, the current administration is in a league of its own. Over the past few weeks, the Government’s overhaul of the planning system, which would mean a financial bonanza for builders and developers, has been presented, in the words of George Osborne and Eric Pickles, as a bold contribution to “young people’s future prosperity and quality of life”. Now it appears that the genesis of the National Planning Policy Framework (or NPPF) is altogether seedier.
Ministers were under pressure to ‘come clean’ over their links to property developers yesterday as the row over controversial planning reforms intensified. With everyone aware of how the Conservatives have acted, and whom they have been conspiring with, their controversial planning reforms have been put further into doubt.