The chancellor George Osborne, rather than planning minister Greg Clark, appears to be driving forward the launch of the the new English planning system. It seems, from his comments on the Andrew Marr Show last weekend, that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is to be published in the same week, if not in tandem with, the Spring Budget. So will the NPPF finally see the light of day with the Budget statement tomorrow?
The Coalition Government has argued that new planning rules are needed to make it easier for developments to be delivered. The aim of the NPPF is to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, whilst also promoting sustainable growth. Creating a slimline system that still maintains the checks and balances needed to promote good development was always going to be a tall order and, unless one has been asleep for the past six months, it would be impossible to be unaware of the storms that followed publication of the Draft NPPF in September last year. Arguments in the media have swung between fears of inappropriate development desecrating the countryside to economic meltdown due to no development. As always, nothing is black and white and we wait to see what, if any, amendments have been made.
Once published, the NPPF will replace existing guidance to planning authorities and developers so, if applications are currently being prepared, as of next week, the NPPF is likely to become the framework against which they will be assessed. We are watching Government websites closely and, once the document is published, will analyse the NPPF and provide more detail about what it means for development and the environment. If you have any questions, meanwhile, do contact us.