Planning framework unveiled at last

THE government has unveiled the long-awaited final version of its National Planning Policy Framework.

The 50-page document, which replaces over 1,300 pages of policy in 44 separate documents, was published on Tuesday (27 March).

Planning minister Greg Clark described it as a simplified planning framework that would better support growth and helps create homes and jobs.

It would put unprecedented power into the hands of communities, and help protect and enhance the natural and historic environment.

The full document can be seen here.

"These reforms will help build the homes the next generation needs," said Mr Clark.

"It will let businesses expand and create jobs, and it will conserve what we hold dear in our matchless countryside and the fabric of our history."

The framework gives guidance to local councils in drawing up local plans and on making decisions on planning applications.

It comes into force with immediate effect for plan-making and decisions.

The government wants every area to have a clear local plan, which sets out local people's views of how they wish their community to develop.

The final framework retains all of the key elements of the draft Framework published in July 2011. These include:

     - enshrining the local plan - produced by local people - as the keystone of the planning system

     - making planning much simpler and more accessible

     - establishing a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development

     - guaranteeing robust protections for our natural and historic environment

     - encouraging the use of brownfield land in a way determined locally.

In addition, the new framework strengthens the requirement for new development to be of good design.

It allows communities to specify where renewable energy such as wind farms should, and should not, be located.

It also allows councils to provide the parking in town centres, to help them compete with out-of-town shopping faciliites and supermarkets.

Implementation arrangements agreed with the Local Government Association have been put in place for local authorities with up-to-date policies in local plans.

Immediate advice and support is available to councils through a joint team of the Local Government Association, the Planning Inspectorate and the Department of Communities and Local Government.


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