DCLG consultation on simplification of planning guidance

On July 25th The Planning Minister Greg Clark invited views on the draft National Planning Policy Framework – which aims to streamline national policy from over 1,000 pages to just 52 pages of policy – as part of a consultation to get the planning system right for current and future generations.

The Planning Minister claims that underpinning the draft Framework are powerful protections for communities to safeguard the natural and historic environment and seeks to maintains the Government’s commitment to protecting the green belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest; facilitates a new generation of renewable energy projects; paves the way for green transport of the future – the electric car – by encouraging decision makers to provide charging points; re-affirms protections for our nation’s historic and cultural heritage, and for our wildlife and bio-diversity, including new protection for peat bogs; and helps tackle the light pollution affecting the beauty of the night sky.

In addition, the draft Framework claims to delivers on the Government’s commitment in the Natural Environment White Paper to allow communities to earmark important local green spaces for special protection – whether its value is in its natural beauty, its historical resonances, its recreational value, its tranquillity or its richness in wildlife.

The draft Framework also claims to underline the need for councils to work closely with communities and businesses and actively seek opportunities for sustainable growth to rebuild the economy; helping to deliver the homes, jobs, and infrastructure needed for a growing population whilst protecting the environment. A presumption in favour of sustainable development means that proposals should be approved promptly unless they would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in the draft Framework.

Greg Clark has said: “We now want to hear the thoughts of councils, communities and businesses on the draft Framework and work together to get the planning system right for generations to come.”

These sentiments are echoed by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, Business Secretary Vince Cable and the DCLG claim in support, amongst others the Chair of the Major Developers Group, Sir Stuart Lipton, Chairman of National Association of Local Councils, Michael Carter, Head of external affairs at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Stephen Thornton and the Chief executive of the British Property Federation Liz Peace. Surprise Surprise !!!

However the proposals have been challenged by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Trust and the Royal Town Planning Institute – especially the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

MMAG will be participating in the Consultation.

1. The draft National Planning Policy Framework can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframework.

2. The Government wants the fullest possible scrutiny of the draft framework. The full 12 week consultation starts from July 25th. Details can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframeworkconsultation.

3. Ministers will ensure that both Houses of Parliament are given the opportunity to scrutinise the draft Framework. They have invited the Communities and Local Government Select Committee to comment on the draft Framework.

4. Consultation workshops have been arranged across the country to hear directly from people with an interest. These will be in London on Wednesday, 7 September; Leeds on Thursday, September 8; Birmingham on Tuesday, September 13; and Bristol on September 15. Full details can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/planningpolicy/planningpolicyframework/.

5. A short summary of the main proposals in the draft Framework can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframeworksummary.