At the Conservative Party Conference, Ministers have been offering concessions on planning reforms. They have been quiet, but they have been many. And they all are beginning to put the NPPF back on track and in the right direction to what it should of been in the first place – a simplified planning document that supports growth without imposing harsh costs on local communities and the environment. Following Francis Maude’s outburst at the weekend, we did not expect to see such a positive approach from the tories. But Bob Neil has begun to pave the way, ensuring that the NPPF consultation period truly invovles listening.
They Conservatives are desperate to end a fractious row with high-profile rural groups says Anushka Asthana, including the National Trust. Ministers believe that the only way to appease the furious reaction among core Tory voters is to produce a new version of the document, which could be slightly longer than the 52 pages already published.
Intemperate language from government ministers has been an unfortunate feature of the debate around the proposed reform of planning laws. There has been a wilful attempt to traduce critics and close down the discussion that has not reflected well on those responsible. Doubtless Mr Maude relishes his reputation for straight-talking but we hardly think that his contribution at the weekend has added a great deal of intellectual rigour to the debate and suggests the consultation is a sham.
At the weekend the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon admitted on BBC South East’s Politics Show that they hadn’t been able to sell the policy and said there may be a change in language when the final consultation ends later this month.