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CPRE comment on Centre for London report

20 July 2016

On 20 July, Centre for London published a report on opposition to residential development. 'Stopped: Why People Oppose Residential Development In Their Back Yard' aims to discover the reasons why people oppose developments in their neighbourhoods, and to find ways for planners and developers to respond to these concerns.

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments:

“Centre for London’s report makes a good start in exploring the reasons why people may be opposed to development proposals in their neighbourhoods. With a clear and pressing need for more homes to be built, the report provides a welcome look at how development can be carried out in harmony with, rather than against, communities’ wishes.

“As the report recognises, neighbourhood planning can set the framework for the evolution of local neighbourhoods, and improve engagement with councils and developers. But more generally we should seek to emphasise that the consequent development and plans must reflect community aspirations and meet local need as defined in the relevant local or neighbourhood plan.

“The report rightly argues that trust must be rebuilt between communities, planners and developers. Unfortunately, the Government’s approach to overcoming opposition to development has not been helpful in fostering productive, trusting relationships. By weakening communities’ influence on decisions, and financially incentivising decision makers to approve developments, the Government has further driven a wedge between the people affected by decisions and the people who make decisions.

“Communities have also been frustrated by speculative development applications outside local plans. Communities would feel more trust in developers if housebuilders followed the policies and proposals of local and neighbourhood plans, and then built out the permissions they had rather than applying to build more homes on other, unallocated, sites."

CPRE mention

“We note that CPRE is name-checked in the Centre for London report, in reference to a fundraising appeal letter sent to our members and supporters that used emotive imagery to encourage people to volunteer or pledge financial support to actual campaigns.

"We feel it necessary to point out that the letter was issued eight years ago, before a significant change in CPRE’s outlook and campaigning values (and a name change), and also in the context of a completely different government and a slightly different planning system. It should not be taken as representing the language used in CPRE’s local campaigns on development, which are objective and evidence-based, and, critically, not always against all greenfield development.”

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