The Report of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England, which was published today, expressly recognises the concerns of IfA in relation to the historic environment and addresses a number of the issues that we raised in evidence and in submissions to DCLG.
Its recommendations include
• the removal from the NPPF of the provision that the default answer to development should be ‘yes’
• the removal of the phrase ‘significantly and demonstrably’ from the presumption that all planning applications should be approved unless the adverse effects of development significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits
• rebalancing the NPPF so that it unambiguously reflects the supremacy of local plans and clearly acknowledges that the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development are of equal importance
• Government endorsement of supporting guidance
• transitional arrangements to ensure that there is adequate local plan coverage
• a further stage of consultation on the draft NPPF
A full copy of the Report can be seen at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmcomloc/1526/152602…
Detailed concerns remain with regard to specific heritage policies (which were outside the Committee’s remit). Nonetheless, the Report acknowledges that brevity does not necessarily achieve clarity in policy and confirms many of the reservations expressed by IfA and others within the sector. We wait to see the extent to which Government takes these recommendations on board.