Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:50

Rural groups disagree on planning

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural groups disagree on planning

GOVERNMENT plans to shake up planning rules have met a different response from rural lobby groups.

The draft National Planning Policy Framework is open for public consultation until 17 October.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) believes proposals contained in the document will place the countryside under increasing threat.

But the Country Land and Business Association claims overreaction to the planned reforms is provoking ill-informed opposition.

CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers said his concerns about the National Planning Policy Framework were far reaching.

"As it stands, it will not save money, will not reduce planning delays or aid sustainable economic growth," he said.

"What it will do is damage the countryside and hamper the ability of communities to protect the places they love, whether in town or country."

Recognition of the intrinsic value of the "ordinary" countryside had featured in planning law and guidance for over 60 years, said Mr Spiers.

But it had been dropped from the draft framework.

The CPRE believes changes required to the framework are likely to be so far-reaching it wants a further consultation on a substantially revised draft.

The CLA, however, has a different view.

A presumption in favour of sustainable development was about a balanced approach, not a licence to develop for housebuilders, it said.

The proposal was for a more flexible system within environmental limits, said CLA president William Worsley.

"We care deeply about the countryside and do not want it to be concreted over any more than other organisations currently speaking out.

"However, we believe sustainable development is about taking a balanced approach to economic, social and environmental factors."

Proposals contained in the framework were "not about developers getting the green light to build rough-shod over rural areas".

The countryside, and the communities and businesses it supports, must become more sustainable than it was at the moment, said Mr Worsley.

"If the current unbalanced planning policy continues, the countryside and all it contains will not survive."

To have your say on the draft planning framework, click here.
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