In its manifesto, the Green Party revealed plans to repeal the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), instead focusing on collaborative national spatial plans…
One of the main pledges to come out of the manifesto was plans to scrap the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
NPPF has had something of a rocky ride. A survey of developers and housing associations conducted by BDO found a distinct lack of confidence in the framework’s ability to help the housing industry meet demand for homes.
The survey found 94 per cent of respondents were not optimistic that the UK’s demand for new homes could be met in the next two years. Furthermore, only 29 per cent of participants felt the framework was helping to deliver new homes, while a total of 19 per cent said the framework actually inhibited building. Around 52 per cent said the NPPF had made no difference to the industry.
With this in mind, the Greens pledge to end the NPPF scheme should be one that is largely welcomed. However, what has been proposed in its place might not go down as well.
The Greens said they would implement a scheme that required local authorities to “work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans”.
The manifesto aims instead to place “planning back in the hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans”.
The document also criticised the methods undertaken by current Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, stating he “has virtually abolished onshore wind energy by overriding local planning and halting turbine projects”.
Renewable energy has been a significant area of focus for the government during its tenure. However, gaining permission to build has been difficult in some cases.
The Greens said they would “concentrate on expanding mature renewable sources such as wind energy and solar PV in the period until 2030 and bringing down costs, in part by reducing planning constraints, including those for onshore wind”.
One of the major sticking point in the planning process among local authorities and communities has been the ability of the Secretary of State to override council decisions and take control of the planning process. The Green said they would restrict the ability of the next secretary to call-in planning applications, as well as limiting the right of applicants to appeal against decisions.
Under these new measures, developers would only be able to seek appeal if there had been an error in the planning process. Additionally, the community would be given the right to appeal any development that is considered non-compliant with a neighbourhood or local plan.
The Greens would also strengthen the power of local authorities to prevent important community facilities such as local shops, pubs, and meeting halls from undergoing changes of use.
Other measures put forward by the Greens include ensuring everyone lives within a five minute walk of green open space and giving local authorities the resources to extend and maintain local parks.
Developers will also be prohibited from destroying habitats, and restrictions will be put in place to prevent unnecessary encroachment onto undeveloped greenfield sites by reusing disused sites.
The Greens said their planned measures would give local authorities the power to support local shops and businesses, but will it hinder the construction sector by introducing more red tape?
What do you think of the Greens stance in regards to planning and construction? Let us know your thoughts.