As the date approaches (27 March 2013) for the National Planning Policy Framework to come into force, it transpires that councillors across the country are offering themselves for hire to property developers who are hoping to take advantage of the more relaxed post-NPPF regime.
Without a local plan, planning in the area will be determined in line with the NPPF’s much-heralded ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.
Local government politicians are trading on their inside knowledge of the planning system to receive fees of up to £20,000 for advice on how to get developments approved, according to the press.
This is just one instance of the mighty confusion brewing amongst local planning policy, especially as the first neighbourhood plan approval being broadly welcomed: but with provisos.
Steve Graham, Director of Civic Voice says: ‘Although this plan has gone through, Civic Voice can already see some referendums being extremely controversial. Other plans where significant site allocations may be required for housing or for particular development may prove to be more controversial. The real test for neighbourhood planning will come when being challenged by inappropriate development. We will then see what legal weight the plans have in practice’.
A High Court judge has already ruled that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) takes precedence over the Localism Act and out-of-date or incomplete local development plans.
Recent research by commercial property consultant GVA has revealed that the market is unable to deliver large scale housing schemes without greater support from the public sector.
With councils struggling to correct the gaping mismatch between resources, actual housing and growth need, planned housing and growth need, localism and other planning policy, surely something has to give.
Surely, as a sector, place-makers need to at least talk about this?
Those place pioneers and leaders that do think so are coming together in Newcastle on April 17 to explore real options and solutions for impact.
Do your own exploration with our selection of free RUDI content on these themes