The Government's new planning practice guidance website
Email Campaign

Planning shouldn't just be the preserve of technocrats, lawyers and council officers. I believe the new online national planning guidance will give much needed simplicity and clarity to the planning system and will support greater community involvement. The user-friendly format will make planning guidance more accessible and easier to keep up to date.

The existing technical guidance, often complex and repetitive, is catalogued in 230 separate documents and at 7,000 pages is almost impossible for residents and businesses to use effectively. Following an external review of planning practice guidance led by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, ministers have proposed a new streamlined planning practice guidance web-based resource that will provide the support for growth and creation of jobs and homes that the country needs. It will also provide clearer protections for our natural and historic environment by giving power back to communities who are generally best placed to make local decisions.

This new on-line planning guidance follows the National Planning Policy Framework, which distilled around 1,000 pages of planning policy into a streamlined, easy to understand 47-page document. The new guidance will not involve any changes to national policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

The National Planning Policy Framework is explicit that key protections like the Green Belt cannot be overridden by the presumption in favour of sustainable development, and that once established Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances.

The new and easy-to-use web advice pages set out guidance on a range of issues including new neighbourhood planning guidance to help more communities start their own plan, as well as new local green space guidance to help councils and local communities to plan for open space and protect local green spaces which are special to them.

None of the current planning practice guidance will be cancelled until the final online guidance is in place. The new draft guidance suite was open in beta from 28 August 2013 for informal comment until 14 October 2013; all contributions made during this time will be taken into consideration in finalising the guidance.

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