NPPF: from national controversy to local debate Lexcomm


NPPF: from national controversy to local debate Lexcomm

The Government hopes that publication of the NPPF will show it is serious about delivering the growth it has staked its political credibility on.  Today ministers remained on the front foot, claiming the NPPF was “unashamedly pro-growth”. However, though a series of amendments it will also hope the battle with conservation groups like the National Trust and CPRE will come to an end.

The accusation that Government will allow vast swathes of the countryside to be paved over, however tenuous, is especially potent for Conservative inclined voters and politically unsustainable for ministers as a result. In the Framework’s final version ministers will hope they have emphasised the countryside will be protected without watering down the pro growth mentality that underpins the presumption in favour of sustainable development in particular.

However, implementation of the Framework by local authorities and subsequent judgement by the courts will ultimately decide whether the NPPF will deliver development.  This is where the focus now moves, with councils thinking about how new transitional arrangements will impact on their plans and decisions. They will also be making judgements, which are inherently political, about how to plan for growth and justify this to an often sceptical public.


CPRE – cautious welcome
Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive, said Government had listened to public views but:

“… While recognising the scale of the housing crisis, we remain very concerned to ensure that the Planning Framework does not place undue emphasis on short-term economic growth at the expense of other important long term, public interest objectives of planning, including the protection and enhancement of the environment.”

“We are also concerned about the length of the transition period, which at 12 months will pose serious challenges to many local authorities …”

BPF — clarity on implementation required
Liz Peace, Chief Executive, said:

“We believe the NPPF is now a more moderate and sensible document. The changes to the framework do not, however, alter its overall objective of supporting well-planned sustainable growth within a streamlined, plan-led system”

“… What’s needed now is clarity over how the NPPF is going to be implemented. Urgent questions remain over how local authorities should determine how many homes and jobs they need, and what the guidance that underpins the NPPF should be.”

Local Government Association —– local government needs a transition period
Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Chair, said earlier in the week:

“It remains crucial that the Government puts in place realistic transitional arrangements to give councils time to introduce Local Plans and the LGA will continue to press for this.”

Today Greg Clark confirmed the government had introduced a 12 month transition period which was supported by the LGA.

Labour Party — uncertainty is holding back investment
Hilary Benn, Shadow CLG Secretary said in the Commons:

“Far from giving us certainty, there is likely to be delay as developments are held up by appeals and by the courts having to rule on a new and untested approach,” Mr Benn said, adding that this would lead to “uncertainty and chaos.”

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