Tom Keighley

Member Article

Planning framework set to streamline development

The Government is set to publish the findings of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) today (Tuesday), in a move which could revolutionise the construction industry.

The document is set to be a major influence on future developments, as well as streamlining and clarifying the planning system to make it more accessible to the public.

Last week the Chancellor announced plans to reduce the 1300 pages of current planning policy into around 58 pages, in a move which signalled much-needed Government support for the flagging industry.

Many anticipate that today’s proposals will bring a renewed stability to the sector.

Speaking to Bdaily before the full details of the Framework were revealed, Kevan Carrick of JK Property Consultants in Newcastle commented: “The consultation represents an important step change - making planning permission easier is the road to improving the construction industry which is desperate for work

“Planning comes with significant costs - anything from between £10,000 to £50,000, and a saving of even a quarter of that could make the difference between going for planning or not.

“Development costs in the North East exceed developement value, and there are no grants either, so unless you can cut costs, no development will happen.”

However, there are some concerns that the NPPF could pose difficulties for local authorities, whose Local Plans may be inconsistent with or even contradict national policy.

Mark Finch, director at Drivers Jonas Deloitte North East anticipates that there will still be some teething problems with the new legislation.

He commented: “It is great to see a new presumption in favour of sustainable development, as part of a suite of policies designed to promote growth.

“However, local authorities who have rightly pressed ahead with Local Plans as part of the Government’s localism agenda could find them inconsistent with the Framework.”

Many councils have argued in favour of a transition period, whereby the NPPF will be introduced incrementally to allow them to amend their plans. However others believe that the NPPF policies shoudl come into force immediately to encourage growth.

“We will hopefully get some guidance on how to straddle this divide.” Fince added.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “Future generations will be thankful that the Government has held its nerve on this.

“Having a presumption in favour of sustainable development gets the balance right between supporting jobs and growth, and serving the interests of the environment and society.

“The new framework hands the responsibility back to local communities to decide where new homes, businesses and infrastructure to support them should be built.

“So the onus is on local authorities to work with people and businesses in their area to develop suitable plans as quickly as possible.

“Let’s be clear, this is not an invitation to concrete over Britain, as some would have us believe. For too long, our planning regime acted as a drag on growth, and this framework lets people decide the future for themselves.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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