We slate proposed demolition of planning system

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We have slated the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published for consultation yesterday (25 July) by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Read more here.

The society argues that it proposes demolition of the planning system which has served the country well for more than 60 years.

Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘The framework puts the presumption firmly in favour of development. This, together with the financial incentives for development highlighted in the Localism Bill, will undermine the protection of the environment and, in particular, open spaces which are so important for the public.

‘We are particularly concerned about the proposed new Local Green Space designation. This must not be a replacement for national designations, or for the current laws which protect village greens. Existing environmental protection must be maintained.

‘In April, we published ‘A Framework for Green Space’ setting out what the new designation should achieve, but it appears that DCLG has ignored our proposals. We said that the new designation must guarantee permanent protection and must place on the local authority a duty to protect the land, together with powers of enforcement, through the courts if necessary.

‘It is now proposed that the designation should form part of the neighbourhood plan—but such plans can only specify more development, not less.

‘The designation is stated to be “not appropriate for most green areas or open space” so it is difficult to see how it will work in practice. It will not be statutory, as was originally proposed, and it must not overlap with green belt designations, which are themselves threatened by the proposals.

‘Nor is it clear what the role of the local planning authority will be in protecting and managing these new green spaces.

‘We fear for the future of the vital countryside close to people’s homes, and we shall make a robust and critical response to these pernicious proposals,’ Nicola concludes.

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