Is the National Policy Planning Framework a step forward?
Emotions have certainly been running high in the runup to the new National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) announced yesterday. Conservationists have been somewhat mollified through various concessions, though the Woodland Trust describes it as “a document that remains intrinsically pro growth, putting the environment second place, a sad day for ancient woodland”.
Meanwhile homebuilders generally welcomed the move. “The NPPF will marginalise the self-interested vociferous minority who for the last 15 years have played a significant role in depriving a generation of the ability to own a home they can afford,” said David Gladman, Director of Gladman Developments Ltd, arguing that it means the end of the Nimby’s charter. “For too long preserving the view of a rich man over the fields behind his house has prevented a nurse from owning a decent place to live. Developing more homes will also help boost the local and national economy and regenerate communities, at a time when the country most needs it.
Adam Challis, Head of Research at Hamptons International, said: “The pro “vs” anti debate on housing provision has been antiquated and genuinely misses the key social impacts. Rather than ‘concreting the countryside’, the planning system has been successfully ‘de-greening our cities’ instead. It is about time that we get real about housing need, as current actions on all sides fall woefully short of what is required to improve housing delivery volumes. Greenfield development must form part of the development land mix in order to meet housing delivery targets.”
Planning lawyer David Brock commented on his blog that “the emphasis is on positive planning”. He said that Planning Minister Greg Clark was “engaging” about this. “He supports growth to give the next generation homes and jobs, and wants to improve our countryside towns and cities. And he is passionate about putting (in his words) “unprecedented power in the hands of communities to shape the places they live” but experience just does not suggest that in practice communities want to implement his aspirations.”
Architectural writer and editor Ruth Slavid made a good point on her blog that until the NPPF starts to actually be used nobody really understands what it all means. She particularly points out that it is rather short. Here’s what she says:
“Legislation has a tendency to get longer, as new exceptions and conditions are introduced to prevent abuse. In the case of planning policy, this had reached the point where nobody felt that anything could be done. Planning needed to change. The new legislation will get longer as exceptions and conditions are introduced. Unexpected weaknesses will be discovered. There will be some bad faith, and some truly lamentable decisions.”
What do you think about the NPPF?
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