National Planning Policy Framework “risks unsustainable development”

According to a report published by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) does not do enough to protect against unsustainable development.

Welcoming the government’s moves to simplify the planning system through the NPPF, the report says it had found some developers who were using loopholes within the framework to produce speculative planning applications for “substantial” housing development at the edge of towns or villages.

It found that this activity was “particularly acute” when a local plan or five year supply of housing land was not in place. In these cases the report suggests that developers were chasing planning permissions “in areas that local communities do not consider suitable for development”.

Commenting on the report the chair of the CLG Committee, Clive Betts MP said:

“Councils must do more to protect their communities against the threat of undesirable development by moving quickly to get an adopted local plan in place.”

In its recommendations for improving the NPPF, the committee stated the need for clear guidance on assessing housing need. It called upon the government to create a remediation fund for brownfield sites to cut the cost of their development.

However, the committee also acknowledged that the NPPF needed more time to “bed in” and that “It would be ill-advised at such an early stage to consider tearing up the document and starting again.”

By David Mote, Editor

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