Over the weekend the National Trust launched new research on how the planning system is working in England. Positive Planning – the NPPF and plan-led development’ finds that flaws in the Government’s planning rules are allowing developers to build housing in inappropriate locations, side-stepping sites allocated in Local Plans. This is how it was reported in Saturday’s Telegraph.
The research looked at 27 councils with significant areas of countryside. All the councils had followed the rules set out in reformed planning rules and had a local plan in place which outlined how it would meet the area’s housing needs and where they would be built. The research finds that more than half of these councils – 16 – had seen their plans challenged by developers. This is despite Government assurances that this shouldn’t happen. In August, Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said ‘the best way for councils to send speculative developers packing is to have an up to date Local Plan.’
The Trust is calling on the government to:
- Ensure that the Local Plan is sovereign, and that there is greater certainty about where development should and should not go, in areas where a local plan is in place
- Clarify that where a plan is in place, strategic questions about housing need and land supply should be dealt when a new local plan is prepared
- Reintroduce the tracking of speculative, off-plan development approvals
- Ensure local authorities are not penalised for: including large sites in their plans or setting ambitious targets for new housing.
For more, read our summary report and detailed research.