Gravityscan Badge The Race for Planning Justice « Alrewas Neighbourhood Plan

The Race for Planning Justice

The Race for Planning Justice

After 18 months of preparation, our Neighbourhood Plan has completed the pre-submission consultation and once we have adjusted the draft to accommodate the points raised by our community at large and our LPA, it will be submitted to our LPA for the pre-examination consultation. Creating the plan has taken thousands of volunteer hours from our steering group and the 50+ members of our 5 task groups.

The process to appoint the Independent Examiner has been started with our LPA so, at least theoretically, our NP could be in the hands of our chosen Examiner in a matter of weeks.

But, there is a problem. We have a planning application that is to be considered on July 21st with the LPA recommending approval: Frankly, we find this astonishing – the application doesn’t meet the saved policies of the LPA’s own Local Plan, it doesn’t comply with the broad guidelines of sustainability defined in the NPPF and falls short of the spirit of the NPPF as regards to building on or near a known flood plain. In summary, this application appears to be premature in that it is out of step with the aims and objectives of both the NPPF and the emerging Local Plan.

Meanwhile the CLG Select Committee has an ongoing enquiry into the workings of the NPPF and just days before being reshuffled to a more senior post, Housing Minister, Nick Boles announced in Parliament:

“The Secretary of State is keen that all planning appeal decisions should reflect the Government’s clear policy intention when introducing neighbourhood planning, which was to provide a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure they get the right types of development for their community, while also planning positively to support strategic development needs.

“He is therefore keen to give particular scrutiny to planning appeals in, or close to, neighbourhood plan areas to enable him to consider the extent to which the Government’s intentions are being achieved on the ground.”

To us, this seems to reinforce the Ministerial Foreword that introduced the NPPF with a big hint to LPAs about how they should guard against misinterpreting the spirit of the new legislation:

“In order to fulfil its purpose of helping achieve sustainable development, planning must not simply be about scrutiny. Planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives.

This should be a collective enterprise. Yet, in recent years, planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this has been a result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote from them. Dismantling the unaccountable regional apparatus and introducing neighbourhood planning addresses this.”

We hope that these defining Ministerial statements will resonate with the Members of our Planning Committee and lead to a decision that will allow the NP be scrutinised by a Government approved independent Examiner before any major planning applications are approved.

via The Race for Planning Justice | LinkedIn.

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