Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Planning legislation and development article

23 April 2015

CPRE’s Targeting the countryside report shows that when you look at major housing development, particularly on greenfield sites, 72 per cent of local decisions are overturned at appeal where the council cannot demonstrate a five year supply of housing land. It also shows that even where a council can demonstrate five year supply, one in six local decisions are overturned – something that should never happen.

In The Mirror today, CPRE head of planning Matt Thomson was quoted on the NPPF’s presumption in favour of development, and how the planning legislation encourages speculative development. Matt’s full view is:

“Leading politicians repeatedly say that we should protect the countryside, and that the legislation is there for us to do so. Yet even areas like Green Belts and designated landscapes are threatened under appeal because cash strapped councils cannot afford the legal costs of fighting developers. Planning decisions are only ‘local’ if they are made by local people in line with their needs and aspirations, but too often decisions appear to be made on basis of risk management rather than good planning.

“While it may be true to argue that many elements of current policy – including five year housing land supply – were introduced before the NPPF, the NPPF sets an agenda where growth outweighs other considerations.

“The NPPF’s ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ encourages speculative developers to challenge community aspirations rather than to deliver those aspirations. It gives them reason to expect that random and unsustainable proposals will be approved. And it disempowers and demoralises both councils and communities, encouraging them to submit to the developers’ plans rather than face the cost and trouble of defending communities’ rights.”

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