Planning threats and the countryside

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 27/09/2011

The BMC, as part of the Wildlife and Countryside Link coalition and the Sport and Recreation Alliance have voiced our concerns on the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was published at the end of July.

The overriding aim of the NPPF is to drive economic growth through sustainable development and a core presumption is that the default answer to any proposed development will be ‘yes’. Of real concern is that the draft policy will undermine current environmental protection of our green, open spaces, and developments could extend into our countryside.

As part of the Wildlife and Countryside Link coalition and the Sport and Recreation Alliance, letters have been sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Decentralisation (Rt Hon Greg Clark) and other MPs. Together, numerous environmental and recreational organisations are asking Government to clarify the purpose of the planning system and to provide public assurances that environmental and social needs will be given the same consideration as economic growth in planning policy. Similarly, that the draft policy is changed to give equal weighting to the value of sport and recreation facilities in the planning process.

A number of national organisations have already spoken out about the draft policy and the potential plans which could irrevocably damage the countryside. A summary of these and the latest press coverage can be found by visiting the Telegraph’s ‘Hands off Our Land' campaign.  Last week, David Cameron also responded to the growing controversy over the Government's proposed planning shakeup in a letter to National Trust director-general Dame Fiona Reynolds who has said the planning reforms threaten the places that are special to people the length and breadth of England.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is now inviting views on the draft, which is likely to come into force before the end of the year – we have until October 17th, 2011 to comment.  If you would like to respond personally then please visit the Department for Community website or raise the issue with your MP - please visit the Sport and Recreation Alliance Planning Framework Campaign for further information.

Alongside the NPPF, the Government is also seeking to improve the ‘balance’ between protecting high quality green spaces valued by local communities and enabling the right development to occur in the ‘right place at the right time’. The consultation on the registration of new town or village greens, also seeks to reduce the burden on local authorities who are responsible for implementing them, and on landowners who are affected by applications. The BMC will also be responding to this Government consultation.

 


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1) Anonymous User
10/01/2014
I have today, sent the following letter to David Cameron, with a copy to the LGA, encouraging other District Councillors from across the Country to follow my lead.

Dear Mr Cameron
Harm to the Countryside

The National Trust has warned that half of English councils with greenbelt land, are expecting to have to build on protected countryside, even though other brownfield sites are available. If you are genuinely concerned about that then I urge to read on.

The government promised in 2011 (under Localism), to abolish Labour's Regional Strategies, putting elected local councillors back in charge, accountable to local people via the ballot box."

Instead in 2013, they empowered un-elected Planning Inspectors through the NPPF, to permit speculative development, where house- building rates lag population growth & Mr Boles seems content with that.

So, unless you intervene, inappropriate development is likely to continue on green field & flood prone sites, against the judgement of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs).

I have suggested a solution, in the attached exchange with Nick Boles and I urge you to grasp it with both hands.

If you fail to take decisive action to rectify this inequity, then it will not be local councillors, but MPs & Ministers who will pay the price at the ballot box in 2015.

Yours sincerely


Roger J. Arthur. Horsham District Councillor.


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