DCLG has published the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for consultation.
The consultation ends on 17 October 2011.
You can access the draft NPPF and further details of the consultation, including the dates of local consultation workshops, by clicking on the above link.
Deregulation is sweeping through the planning world. Bales of red tape will be torched, and the planning system will be underpinned by a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development (whatever that means).
If you want to see my earlier posts on this, looking at the meaning of sustainable development from the point of view of a non planning specialist – see Sustainable Development-What Does it Mean? and Planning Permission? Answer: Yes... If it’s Sustainable.
This is a complex subject. An interesting online debate was hosted on the Guardian website today – worth a look to get a flavour of the arguments being presented for and against the NPPF.
And of course the debate is currently raging all over the media.
The NPPF does not get rid of planning control altogether, but it is reducing thousands of pages of planning policy to just 52.
It seems the system will be focussed more on local plans drawn up by local authorities. However, many local authorities have not yet drawn up plans, whether this is because they couldn’t be bothered to do so or did not have adequate resources seems to be a moot point.
Local communities are to be given a greater role in the planning process, but what if they can’t be bothered either, or find the complexity of the process off-putting?
If there is no local plan (or an inadequate one) and no community involvement, will the presumption in favour of sustainable development effectively be a green light to all development?
Ultimately, the success or failure of any new system will rest on whether it successfully manages to balance economic, social and environmental needs.
It will take years to find that out.
By that stage, the government of the day will probably want to change the system again!
And if that’s all too much to think about at the end of August, you can instead once again venture into the twilight zone beyond parody by considering the Housing Minister’s answer to the housing shortage...er...houseboats apparently.
Inside Housing reports that councils which encourage people to live on boats to ease the housing crisis will be given financial rewards.
You couldn’t make it up.
Rubber dinghy anyone?