Thursday, 11 September 2014

The National Planning Policy Framework: deadline for further comment: 26th September

The ongoing debate on the effect of the NPPF on the ground as it were is gaining momentum:
Futures Forum: The pressures to build on green fields: the NPPF ... where do we go from here?
Futures Forum: Private Bill to amend the National Planning Policy Framework: second reading: Friday 6th June
Futures Forum: The NPPF under pressure: building houses on green space

Parliament is looking into the NPPF:
Futures Forum: Parliamentary review on the NPPF: deadline Weds 8th May
Futures Forum: Parliamentary committee to inquire into the National Planning Policy Framework: "forcing councils to approve ad-hoc planning applications"
Futures Forum: Parliamentary inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework: findings suggest that "some local planning authorities may be forced into perverse behaviour to meeting the NPPF policies and government targets."

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has launched an inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) following a report's finding of "poor practice" and ineffectiveness among some local planning authorities.

CLG committee launches inquiry into National Planning Policy Framework

Further comment can be submitted by Friday 26th September.

Here is the homepage of the Community Voice on Planning:

DCLG Committee’s  inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework -

feedback from the discussion forum on 1 September
Nine MP’s and Advisors from the Committee joined over 60 interested participants from around the country in round table discussions on aspects of the NPPF. Each table spent 20 minutes with each of four members of the Committee discussing four aspects: Operation of the NPPF, Provision of Housing, Local Plans, and Localism and Consultation. They did appear to listen, so we wait to see a summary of the discussions.
It is not too late to submit additional comments to the Committee through the portal. Comments can be submitted until the 26th September. See the key issues raised by our Affiliates here
Also don’t forget to submit your comments to the consultation on the New Planning Reform Package
According to our new Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis, Local residents will have a greater say over the future development of their area. A-100 page document, now out for consultation, highlights plans to change the neighbourhood planning regime, amend planning regulations and planning conditions, as well as modifying the planning application process and introducing new thresholds for environmental impact assessments. Comments can be submitted until 25 September.

Please see our Ode to John Betjeman
Two sets of consultants employed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) before the last iteration of the Local Plan said that they thought that around 12,000 homes should be built in the district.   EDDC said, no – this could not be right and at least 15,000 homes were needed – which is what got put in the draft put before the Inspector.
The Inspector threw out the plan, specifically saying that he could see no back-up research that confirmed the 15,000 number that EDDC came up with.  So, EDDC went ahead and commissioned a THIRD set of consultants to check this work. and lo and behold, they have come back with a figure of 11,000! EDDC are still not satisfied…
More details

Framing the Housing Debate
As Shaun Spiers says in a recent blog “if we are to have a serious public debate about how to solve the housing crisis we need to move on from glib assertions about NIMBYs stopping development or the need (unexamined) to build on the Green Belt. Planning is important, but it is not the most important thing. The fact is that our dysfunctional housing system will not deliver the homes the country needs without major structural reform and much greater public funding.”
Open and Accountable Planning
Wide ranging new government guidance on public access to local authority decision making. Worth reading for planning!
Councils and other local government bodies are required to allow any member of the public to take photographs, film and audio-record the proceedings, and report on all public meetings
Suggested changes to the NPPF:
See our page for the main areas where change to the planning system would be helpful now or early in the life of the new government:
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See a recent advertisement for The truth about house-building in Cheshire East
click the caption for a pdf

The Truth about House-Building in Cheshire East
Parliamentary Enquiry
The Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework is now taking oral evidence. The inquiry follows research findings, published by the Committee, that some local planning authorities may be forced into perverse behaviour to meeting the NPPF policies and government targets. Written submissions can be seen at Communities and Local Government Inquiry Submissions. See more details on our Parliament Select Committee Inquiry page.
Rural Housing Policy Review underway
Set up by Hastoe Housing Association, this important review is exploring what has changed since the production of key reports into rural affordable housing published 2005-2008 and what now needs to happen to assist delivery.  The review group is chaired by Lord Best and includes authors of these key reports, Lord Matthew Taylor and Elinor Goodman, plus movers and shakers of rural affordable housing delivery from across the country.  Findings of the review will inform recommendations to national policy makers and assist those responsible for delivery.
The review has already sought input from local authorities and has held a joint meeting with the Rural Housing Alliance.  The Group is now asking for views from Parish Councils.  It is interested in the factors that encourage and deter parish councils from engaging in the delivery of rural affordable housing.  A short questionnaire for Parish Councils can be accessed via this link.
Anyone else interested in submitting views to the review should contact Jo Lavis, the review coordinator at Jo.Lavis64@gmail.com
Letter to the media from CoVoP released on 24 May 2014
This is the letter we sent out to all the nationals and to various BBC programmes as well. Please send it to your local newspapers under the name of your group or as a member of the nationwide Community Voice on Planning; you will need to include a local name and address as a contact.
How amazing that so many politicians are surprised by the message that there is dissatisfaction with the political status quo and that this finds expression through rejection of the established political players. There were few elections in the rural districts or the message would have been even worse.
Since the inception of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) there has been a relentless attack upon the integrity of market towns and villages, on the greenbelt, and on the fabric of the English countryside. Democracy has been trampled on by an unholy alliance between the vested interests of some politicians and the mammoths of the construction industry. This has not resulted in affordable housing for the young rural dispossessed, but with disfiguring rashes of identikit houses and endless ruinous squabbles between the construction industry and local communities.
Our advice to politicians of every hue is to LISTEN to us. Don’t pretend to give us localism and democracy and then trample all over us and our opinions. Don’t call us names and condescend to us. We gave you power and through the ballot box we can take it away. If you learn nothing else from the experience of the elections of 2014, then learn this.
Time to give communities a real say in the planning process
On the 30th April 2014, Greg Mulholland MP introduced a bill, under the ten minute rule, for amendment of the NPPF. It is sponsored by MPs from all three major parties, and addresses a number of issues that affect us.
We believe that this Bill, which enjoys cross-party support, would have addressed most of the issues that have angered and frustrated us all since the inception of the NPPF. The relevant details can be seen via the link to Hansard but because of the timing this bill has lapsed.
We understand that Mr Mulholland is organising a roundtable for groups who share such a vision for the future of our planning system. The aim of the roundtable event is to produce a manifesto for the 2015 general election and make clear to both the current and next government the planning issues they must tackle.
We will be there to make our views clear. If we are ever to put right the many injustices and stupidities of the current planning system, then we need to change the NPPF.
Our submission to the Commons Select Committee on the Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework has now been published and can be seen on the Government Website.
The acronym NIMBY was popularised by Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for the Environment in the late 80s, who turned out to be one of the first. Nowadays the term is exploited by politicians and developers as a means of dismissing local people who object to contentious developments on green spaces.
But what if groups like The National Trust, Civic Voice, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the recently formed Community Voice on Planning, who together  represent the views of many many millions of people across the country, object to the very same thing? Is the whole country now a “nimby” when so many are standing up for it?
What about the BEGGERS (Build on Every Green Glade and Every Rural Space)?
NPPF not working
We want the government and other political groups to:
  1. Understand that the NPPF may not be working in the anticipated way. In particular, that the local voice is not being heard and that this is a cause of resentment, especially in rural communities.
  2. Recognise that there are serious short-comings to the definition of “sustainability” in current use and amend the NPPF and the guidance accordingly to give greater weight to heritage, ecology, transport and culture.
  3. Do more to ensure that development is preferred and prioritised on brownfield and city sites.
  4. Do more to protect green areas of special value to local areas.
  5. Scrap the current 5 year supply definition and allow permissions to be counted as part of this.
  6. Accept that the expectations for the production of Local Plans in the allotted time-scale were unrealistic and allow a further period of grace to those local authorities that are still struggling to achieve this.
  7. Seriously consider the short-comings of building-by-numbers.
We are starting a discussion on the definition on Sustainability so see our new page to comment.
Join the discussions
We have a new Forum so log-in and join the discussion.

Community Voice on Planning | A National Alliance to provide communities with an effective voice on planning, enabling them to protect their greenfield and green spaces.


Anonymous said...

Both the Otter Valley Association and East Devon Alliance were invited to take part in the Select Committee Forum on September 1 in Portcullis House to discuss issues with the way the NPPF is effecting local communities. A report of the OVA representative can be found here;

Jeremy Woodward said...

Thanks very much.
I'll post this report from the OVA in a separate piece as it makes a very important contribution to the debate.