- Press Contact
- Public Affairs Consultant
The presumption in favour of sustainable development will remain in the Government’s proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake attending a British Property Federation (BPF) conference said that the presumption was an important part of Government policy. He was quoted on the out-law.com website saying:
“Economic growth is paramount across every aspect of this government’s policies. And in the national planning policy framework, the presumption will help to ensure that this happens.”
So the Government have reaffirmed that the Treasury position is of paramount importance, and therefore the DCLG drive for Localism may well be a victim at the altar of economic growth.
Localism depends on local council’s having their LDF’s in place and up to date. The issue is many authorities all around the country have yet to get their LDF’s adopted and in place, yet alone tested for soundness. The process continues to be a long drawn out saga of evidence and political debate in which planning reality is sacrificed for political expediency. In the few cases of LDF’s that meet the aspirations of local communities the NPPF will mean little. For those who continue to struggle with the process, procrastinate and are effectively stuck in the go slow lane, the NPPF will have huge significance.
The reiteration of the pro-development position by Sir Bob Kerslake reflects on the likely outcome of the consultation that the Government have undertaken on the NPPF. Enshrining the growth agenda in this way will create the dichotomy between the idea of Localism and the reality of central government requirements. Despite a desire to devolve, the reality is that the economic crisis demands central government dictat – kind of makes you hark back to all of the Tory criticism of the alleged top down planning approach of John Prescott – now there’s irony for you!
Ever was thus, but this situation will be made worse by the simple fact the PPS framework and planning guidance that Government produced, hundreds of pages of it, have been replaced by the draft NPPF which at its best runs to just 65 pages.
The picture remains confused, and even when the final version of the NPPF is published the reality will be that the new planning system will only be stabilised when cases have been through the courts – as the inspectorate will have no real power, the only recourse for developers will be the judicial system.
So the result of the NPPF and the Localism Act will be a lot more litigation.
Dr Paul Harvey – Former Leader of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
E-mail has been sent