Working out what the planning system will look like once the reforms have been completed became a little easier today with the publication of the Draft National Planning Policy Framework for consultation. For most of the industry this should be a ‘glass half full’ moment after a year or so of pessimism about the direction of policy.
DCLG has published the draft National Planning Policy Framework for three months of consultation. This follows the recent leaking of an earlier version of the document in June, which bears a remarkable similarity to the version published today. Seehttp://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframeworkconsultation for the full document.
Whisper it very quietly but what we can see in the draft NPPF is a great deal more professional industry input than the proposals drawn in Opposition which formed the initial package of the Localism agenda. What we will get is the vast tomes of Planning Policy Statements replaced by a simple slimline set of national guidance in just 50 pages. Never mind that the accompanying regulatory impact assessment comes in at over 100 pages.
As so often ‘less can be more’ in leading to a clear and simple outcome. The NPPF is very clear in how local authorities will need to meet housing requirements. When the music stops on what has been the mini-industry of development plan evidence papers and development plan documents in their multiple stages, delivery will have to happen and there will be few places left to hide to avoid getting a Local Plan in place.
To facilitate comment on the NPPF, there will be a series of stakeholder workshop events held across the country during early September at which any interested party can give their views on the proposed NPPF and the rest of the planning reforms. The four planning reform events will be London on Wednesday 7 September 2011, Leeds on Thursday 8 September 2011, Birmingham on Tuesday 13 September 2011 and Bristol on Thursday 15 September 2011.
The consultation will close on 17 October 2011 and on-line responses using Survey Monkey are encouraged using the following linkhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KZKH35Z It is commendable to see DCLG opting for a ‘no-frills’ survey monkey approach to generate feedback – let’s hope that leads to a rapid turn around in the response to the consultation by the end of the year.
Written by Nick Sutcliffe