Planning process to be simplified

A new, simpler framework for the planning system was published for consultation yesterday ((July 25) by Planning Minister Greg Clark MP.

Planning process to be simplified

The new policy aims to combine concern for the environment with the need to expand housing.

The draft National Planning Policy Framework streamlines national policy from over 1,000 pages to just 52 pages of policy. Underpinning it are powerful protections for communities to safeguard the natural and historic environment- it maintains the Government’s commitment to protecting the green belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest for example.

It also underlines the need for councils to work closely with communities and businesses and actively seek out opportunities for sustainable growth to rebuild the economy. A presumption in favour of sustainable development means that proposals should be approved promptly unless they would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in the draft.

Clark said: “Clarity in planning has become lost in translation. National planning policy and central government guidance has become so bloated that it now contains more words than the complete works of Shakespeare, making it impenetrable to ordinary people.

“We need a simpler, swifter system that is easier to understand and where you don’t need to pay for a lawyer to navigate your way around. That’s why we promised reform to make planning easier to understand and easier to use for everyone.

“Today’s proposals set out national planning policy more concisely, and in doing so make clearer the importance of planning to safeguarding our extraordinary environment and meeting the needs of communities, now and in the future.

“We now want to hear the thoughts of councils, communities and businesses on the draft Framework and work together to get the planning system right for generations to come.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable MP said: “Strong, sustainable growth is the Government’s top priority. The new proposals published today, a key element of the plan for growth, set out plans that are responsive to business whilst protecting the concerns of communities and their environment.

“Along with the powerful presumption for sustainable development, the new approach to planning will be a significant step forward in creating the right conditions for businesses to start up, invest, grow and create jobs.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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