MODEST CHANGES TO PLANNING PROPOSALS CAN ADDRESS LOCAL FEARS SAYS LUFF
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MODEST CHANGES TO PLANNING PROPOSALS CAN ADDRESS LOCAL FEARS SAYS LUFF

Against the background of what he described as “a worryingly strident debate” on new planning policies, Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff has joined his two colleagues in South Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire and Robin Walker, Worcester) in putting forward three proposals to address local concerns.

Peter said,

“I strongly support the aims of the consultation on planning policy that’s taking place. But the fears about the implications, although overstated, need to be addressed.

“That’s why the three MPs for South Worcestershire have agreed a three-point submission to the consultation. We feel making these small but useful changes would better protect the environment of South Worcestershire and make it much easier for the planners to respect the wishes of local people.”

In their response, the MPs say

“We welcome the simplification of the language of planning guidance and believe that this will make it easier for our constituents to feel they can get involved in planning in their communities.”

“We are concerned that the noise in the national media has been around the National Planning Policy Framework and that our constituents have not realised that the NPPF applies ONLY IF local plans are not in place.”

They therefore call for more time to be made available to develop local plans such as the South Worcestershire Development Plan.

They also argue that local plans should be allowed to include an allowance for so-called “windfall sites”, reducing the amount of land councils have to designate formally for development.

Their third proposals related to the total amount of sites that local councils must designate for housing,

“We believe that the National Planning Policy Framework is unnecessarily prescriptive and centralising where it specifies that local plans must include an additional 20% of sites within the five-year land supply “to ensure choice and competition”. We strongly urge DCLG to abandon this proposal. While we recognise that the proposal will not of itself increase the actual number of houses that can be built in a council’s overall area, it will force the identification of many additional sites of greater sensitivity, significantly reducing the ability of local authorities to direct housing to the most environmentally acceptable locations. “

They conclude,

“If the 20% compulsion is dropped from central planning rules, if windfall sites that are supported by the evidence can be accepted and if local communities are given some time to develop bottom-up plans, then we believe that this whole exercise will provide a very strong foundation for planning in South Worcestershire for years to come.”

ENDS


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