Friday 23 September: Ministers water down reforms, to the benefit of the country(side) – Media round-up

Minister’s signalled a partial retreat yesterday over the Government’s planning reforms in order to avert a damaging response from Conservative activists at the party’s conference next month. This came following Greg Clark’s announcement yesterday that he would address criticisms of the NPPF.

 Do reforms threaten green spaces? (pg. 71)

Ben Cowell, External Affairs Director at the National Trust, debates the danger of the planning reforms for our green spaces with Karen Cooksley, Head of Planning at the law firm Winckworth Sherwood. Ben argues that the lack of provisions to ensure local participation within the NPPF represents a real danger to our countryside. This document hinges on the creation of local plans, but fails to provide the means to develop these or ensure genuine involvement and understanding at a local level. In this manner, ‘the default “yes” to development must represent a threat’.

 It’s Plan Beef

The boss of the National Trust yesterday said she was “horrified” by a proposed planning shake-up. Dame Fiona Reynolds spoke out after David Cameron said the “sustainable development” blueprint – which would force councils to look favourably at all future developments – would protect the countryside.

  Ministers water down reforms intended to ease planning law

The change in tone towards concerns raised by the National Trust and other groups comes after David Cameron intervened in the growing row about the proposals. He wrote to the trust statnig that sustainable development meant maintaining a balance between economic, environmental, and social concerns. Greg Clark, adopting a more conciliatory tone than shown by Ministers in recent weeks, said that he would consider changing the wording of the draft document to make this clearer.

Tories plan to concrete over our countryside, says historian and MP Tristram Hunt

What makes England special? Is it the pubs, the football or the seaside? Or is it the countryside, that green and pleasant land, surrounding our cities, with its hedgerows, streams and woodlands? Flying back from abroad, you instantly know you’re over England when you see that luscious, natural quilt of town and country, farmland and fields. But under David Cameron’s new planning reform, it is all set to go.

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