NPPF Inquiry: two years on, how is the new planning framework performing?

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Select Committee launched an Inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) last Friday. The Committee, chaired by Clive Betts MP aims to scrutinise the operation of the NPPF on three key areas:

  • Planning for housing;
  • Town centres; and
  • Planning for energy infrastructure (excluding energy infrastructure covered by National Policy Statements).
Clive Betts MP Chair of the DCLG Select Committee

Clive Betts MP Chair of the DCLG Select Committee

Central to the Committee’s investigations will be consideration of a review published by the Centre for Housing and Planning Research at Cambridge University. This newly published research commissioned by the Committee sets out that many Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are focussing too much on Government-set targets, rather than delivery on the ground. For example, applications are being refused and resubmitted just to fit in better with LPA deadlines. For those of us that have worked in planning for a while this is nothing new, it is a practice that has gone on for years but it does seem to be a wake-up call for the Committee.

We hope that this research will be taken as a need to focus on the quality of outcomes rather than just sheer quantity. Development Control (processing planning applications) should not just be about officers ploughing through paperwork and ticking the boxes. We want planning officers to be able to work positively with applicants to create better places. It should be about producing quality sustainable places where people really want to live, work and play.

Central to this, the Woodland Trust will be submitting evidence on how woods and trees can contribute positively to our day to day life. We will also be continuing our fight to improve the NPPF’s protection of ancient woodland by pushing for the tightening of the loophole.

If you would like to submit evidence to the inquiry please see the Inquiry page. The deadline is 5pm 8th May 2014.

Victoria Bankes Price, Planning Adviser

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About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Campaigning, Climate Change, Government Affairs, Planning, Protection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to NPPF Inquiry: two years on, how is the new planning framework performing?

  1. sherwoodforestcommunityvision says:
  2. Thank you for this, whichI have passed over to the Blue Finger Alliance in Bristol. Sustainable development doesn’t also mean giving planning permission on prime agricultural land.

  3. Peter Kyte says:

    I think every planning officer should actually know and be bound to the principle of “sustainable development” and be legally accountable when granting planning permission that is not sustainable.

    • Victoria Bankes Price says:

      Many thanks – that’s a great comment – The responsibility would have to be placed on Councillors as they are the ones who make decisions – it would certainly concentrate their minds! We just have to define sustainable development first!

  4. Moray says:

    Thanks for highlighting this consultation. Just today i was discussing with another LPA tree officer, the defintion of “aged tree” in the NPPF. This term which is not used in planning or the wider tree world is not very helpful for tree officers and others trying to protect ancient and veteren trees on proposed development sites. Does anyone know of any planning appeals or enquiries under the NPPF where this definition has been challenged or defined?

Sorry, comments are closed as we have moved to a new site: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/

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