We published today our Manifesto on planning reform which outlines in greater detail where we stand and our vision for the future.
We believe that the planning system can and should change. Indeed it has evolved significantly over the decades in response to new needs. But at its heart is the principle of balance. Planning exists to serve the economy, the environment, and society. The principle should underpin any reform.
Yet the National Planning Policy Framework does not have any chance of achieving this. By being weighted too heavily in the interests of economic development, the NPPF does not deliver the truly sustainable development that it promises. By failing adequately to define clearly how decisions are to be made it opens up the prospect of greater uncertainty and delay for participants in the planning system. And by insisting on a default ‘yes’ to development, it takes power even further away from local people.
The 10 key changes we want to see are these:
1. Confirmation that the planning system should not be used as a blunt tool to ‘proactively drive development’.
2. Clarification of how planning should promote genuinely, robustly defined, sustainable development.
3. Clause 130 of the Localism Bill, (Applications for planning permission: local finance considerations) should be removed. Financial payments should not be a material consideration in planning decisions.
4. The NPPF should see no diminution of protection for designated countryside and heritage; and planning should continue to protect the wider countryside ‘for its own sake’.
5. The NPPF should adopt an explicit ‘brownfield first’ approach.
6. The NPPF should provide a five year supply of land for housing, but the requirement to identify an additional 20 per cent of land should be dropped.
7. The default ‘YES’, and requirement to grant permission where a local plan is out-of-date, indeterminate or silent, is irresponsible and must be removed.
8. Localism should be real: communities should be given genuine power to shape their area for the better.
9. It is fundamentally wrong that neighbourhood plans should be led and funded by business. It should be a core principle of the reforms that any plans, whether at neighbourhood or local authority level, should be genuinely community led.
10. There should be a limited third party right of appeal, in circumstances where consent is granted for development that is inconsistent with the local plan. This should be guaranteed by the Localism Bill.
Consultation on the draft NPPF closes on 17 October. Visit www.planningforpeople.org.uk to find out more, and add your voice to our petition.