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Property chiefs welcome new UK planning policy

The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published for consultation by the Minister of State for Decentralisation, Greg Clark, consolidates thousands of pages of planning policy into one 52 page document designed to expedite the planning process and establish a clear policy in favour of development and economic growth.

In March's Budget announcement Chancellor George Osborne described the current planning system as an ‘obstacle to economic growth’. Under the new policy a proposed development that meets the principles set out in the NPPF will be given the go ahead.

‘Planning policy should be streamlined, succinct and to the point if it is to deliver the growth and sustainable development that this country needs. The new draft framework follows closely the version submitted by the Practitioners Advisory Group which fully incorporated these principles. On that basis we will have no problem in giving the framework our ringing endorsement,’ said Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation.

Land Securities' chief executive Francis Salway described it as ‘refreshing’, adding that such  ‘a concise national planning framework which supports and encourages growth will also protects our heritage’.

The focus on economic growth is very welcome, while also acknowledging the important role that planning has in protecting the environment, according to Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land. ‘We particularly welcome the presumption in favour of sustainable development and hope government adopts the NPPF as the key planning framework,’ he said.

Planning and urban design consultancy Turley Associates, also welcomed the draft. ‘The consultation is a brave attempt at simplifying what has become an unwieldy body of policy, reinstating the principle that well conceived development is a good and necessary thing,’ said chief executive Rob Lucas.

‘The presumption in favour of sustainable development is the most welcome part of the framework and is essential if the Coalition Government’s pro-growth agenda is to be met. The approach to defining sustainable development is also rightly reclaimed to stand on the three pillars of environmental, economic and social factors each of which is to be assessed and a balanced view taken in decision making,’ he explained.

‘Local planning authorities should welcome this framework and should plan positively for new development. There are gaps in the consultation, but nothing that cannot be filled subsequently in supporting documents and short elaboration. And whilst we do not agree with every last word it crucially provides the policy basis for bringing forward the development we need – the jobs, homes and infrastructure,’ he added.