Sunday, 8 April 2018

National Planning Policy Framework review and consultation closes 10th May > "game over" for the AONB?

The government wants to 'revise' the NPPF: 

The draft revised National Planning Policy Framework incorporates policy proposals previously consulted on in the Housing White Paper and the Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation - the government responses to these are available at the respective consultation pages.

Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework - GOV.UK

But not in the way that might afford greater protection to the AONBs.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England produced a report last November, where it warned that there is not enough protection of our AONBs:
Futures Forum: How reckless housing development threatens England’s AONBs
Government failing to protect England’s celebrated landscapes from mass housing developments - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Its initial response last month to the government's latest review of the NPPF was quite positive: 

It is also encouraging to hear the government reiterate its commitment to protecting the countryside, specifically Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty protections.

CPRE reaction to review of planning rules - Campaign to Protect Rural England

However, things are emerging...

Here is the latest from the CPRE in South Hams:

CPRE South Hams Spring Update - NPPF Urgent Action needed!
Usually our updates are a list of current campaigns against development in the South Hams and the events that we are hosting. 
However, this is slightly different owing to the urgency of the NPPF review and consultation which closes on May 10th. 
If you want to read the full package (not recommended!) here’s the link:
The most important part of this is the changing of NPPF 115 & 116 into one new guideline NPPF 170. 
Anybody that has campaigned  in the last few years will be familiar with the effectiveness of NPPF 115 & 116 in resisting building on the AONB. 
They set out the tests quite clearly for why building cannot be undertaken on the AONB  and provide solid reasons to challenge inappropriate building proposals. 
In our area, this has been used to great effect by Wembury, Frogmore and many others to protect the AONB, SSSI’s and other valuable landscapes. 
The new wording of NPPF 170 is so vague and ambiguous that it gives the AONB on a plate to the developers. 
Not to sound too dramatic, but for countryside campaigners, it would be game over.
The question that we hear so many times in the South Hams is how did we get to this point of so much building? 
The answer is the relaxing of the of the planning laws in 2011. 
This review is one of those points in history where the Government would wish that nobody notices. 
Then in 3 or 4 years, you’ll be walking along the Coastal Path in Berry Head, or Gara Rock or above Bantham and you will see building on all the beautiful view points and wonder how it was allowed. And the answer, will be the revising of these 2 effective guidelines to render them useless! 
The developers are struggling to sell their newly built estates even with the Government's help to buy scheme being extended to houses of up to £600,000, certainly not what the public thought this programme was for! Therefore, the chance to build without question on AONB’s provides an opportunity where the developers could shift houses faster than the hot cross buns of this last weekend. 
The South Devon AONB Trust is attempting to make a meeting to discuss this, but across the South West, the AONB Trusts seem reluctant to challenge these revisions. 
One has to sympathise that their Objections will be fairly muted as they are part funded by the local Councils which in turn, need the money from the building of new houses. 
Therefore, it is essential that you call your Parish, District & County Councillors to account, amenity groups such as the CPRE and the SHS and see how they are responding and even write your own concern to our MP Sarah Wollaston: 

spring 2018 newsletter « CPRE Devon
CPRE Devon - Campaigning to Protect Rural England
South Hams | Protecting Devon & Planning Applications

To contact the MP for East Devon, Sir Hugo Swire:
Hugo Swire | Conservative MP for East Devon

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