At the end of March, the Government published the National Planning Policy Framework but what will be the consequence on you and our region? This is a key part of their reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, to protect the environment and to promote sustainable growth but what impact will this realistically make?

In effect, this new framework cancels almost all previous planning guidance’s and introduces a new presumption in favour of “sustainable development” with the hope that it will be easier to obtain a planning consent, the emphasis being that consent would be granted for a “sustainable development”.

Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Minister for Planning stated: “Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves doesn’t mean worse lives for future generations. Development means growth. We must accommodate the new ways by which we will earn our living in a competitive world. We must house a rising population, which is living longer and wants to make new choices. We must respond to the changes that new technologies offer us. Our lives, and the places in which we live them, can be better, but they will certainly be worse if things stagnate.

“Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment.”

Local Planning Authorities are under an obligation to grant planning permission for “sustainable development” unless significant harm can be identified. They must have a positive approach to the development and seek solutions not generate problems.

Brent Forbes, Director at Petty’s concluded: “The difficulty appears to be the definition of “sustainable development” as outlined by Mr Clark. It must meet the needs for future generations, this involves taking into account the planet’s limited environmental resources, ensuring a healthy successful society with a strong economy. It must also comply with the policies in the framework, which seek to build a strong economy and protect our town centres, delivering high quality affordable housing, good design practice, protect the heritage and address climate change. It is early days, but there is an air of optimism from Developers.”