Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Broken Planning System Needs Fixing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Broken Planning System Needs Fixing

Article excerpt


THE debate emerging from the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is extremely disappointing. I think we have seen an emotive reaction from two of the most respected national organisations, the National Trust and the Council for the Preservation of Rural England.

Both suggest - wrongly in my opinion - that adopting the framework would mean unopposed development and this is misleading and unhelpful. The framework deserves much more important consideration than headlinegrabbing statements. Looking at the debate from a regional perspective, especially from the North East, we must have a planning system that is more aligned to economic growth and job creation.

As I've highlighted in this column in recent weeks, the emphasis first and foremost is that the framework requires the involvement of the local community to establish local plans.

There is a duty to balance the need for development with the impact on the environment, especially when it comes to the use of green belt land.

It is only when the local council has not produced a local plan that the presumption in favour of sustainable development (or PISD, as it is becoming known) in a planning application is triggered. If the plan exists, then the decision on planning must follow the approved plan but only if the proposal is sustainable.

This means that the local planning authority must act diligently by ensuring that its local plans are fully up to date, or suffer the ignominy of having a consent forced upon it because of lack of action.

The plain fact is that the existing planning system is broken - it does not meet our needs. The situation was summed up well by the president of the Rics in a letter on the NPPF sent to the Prime Minister last month. He said: "Delivering sustainable economic growth is in everyone's interest whether it be badly needed employment or equally important affordable housing. The existing planning system, however wellintentioned, has failed to deliver the homes, infrastructure and jobs/investment that UK plc needs as an urgent national priority. …

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