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Government reveals shrunken planning guidelines

The government has today published its National Planning Policy Framework, which reduces the planning guidelines from 1,000 plus pages to a 50 page document.

The new guidelines establish a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” said planning minister Greg Clark, but he added that relevant policies such as those protecting the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Parks, could not be overridden by the presumption.

He said that the framework “makes explicit what was always implicit”, that councils’ policies must encourage brownfield sites to be brought back into use.

Clark confirmed that he had also instigated transitional arrangements suggested by, and agreed with, the Local Government Association. Under the Localism Bill local authority local plans replace the regional plans that were administered by the now abolished regional planning bodies. The Department for Communities and Local Government was considering an 18 month transitional period to allow local authorities to ensure they had local plans in place. But Clark announced that this period would be just 12 months long.

The full framework can be read here.


Key pledges surrounding the revised framework

Enshrining the local plan, produced by local people, as the keystone of the planning system
Making planning much simpler and more accessible, reducing over 1,300 pages of often impenetrable jargon in 44 separate documents into a clear, readable guide of 50 pages
Establishing a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development that underpins all local plans and decisions
Guaranteeing robust protections for our natural and historic environment, including the Green Belt, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Encouraging the use of brownfield land in a way determined locally.

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