The UK Government yesterday issued its Draft National Planning Policy Framework for consultation. The key element of this Policy is that there should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development. In other words, if this Policy is implemented, it will be much easier for developers to get planning permission.
To quote: “A positive planning system is essential because, without growth, a sustainable future cannot be achieved. Planning must operate to encourage growth and not act as an impediment.”
True, there is wording designed to allay the concerns of those who want to maintain the Green Belt and conservation areas, but the general thrust of the policy is that local planning authorities should facilitate sustainable development. Moreover, the cost of requirements for affordable housing or infrastructure should be ‘viable’ so as to ‘provide acceptable returns to a willing land owner and willing developer to enable the development to be deliverable.’
When the Government introduced its Localism Bill, there was much talk of power being given to local communities to develop their own plans for their neighbourhood – a very different approach from that envisaged by this Planning Framework.
It will be interesting to see how these opposing themes work out in reality.
The draft Framework can be found here