National Planning Policy Framework

On the 27th March 2012 arguably the greatest changes to national planning policies since the introduction of the first Planning Act in 1947 were announced in Parliament.

Ok so thats how it was portrayed by some elements of the media, the reality is of course that the `devil` is in the detail.

There is no doubt that there are some significant changes. Some of those changes will never be seen by the average `person on the street` but some will have an impact on how we all view our landscape and streetscape.

Within minutes planning consultants all over the country were pouring over the detail, after all the draft version had come in for serious criticism. What would have changed and what would remain? More importantly just what would Local Planning Authorities have to do and how long would they have to do it in?

As each hour goes by more and more issues come to the fore.

First up Green Belts- treasured by all unless you want to develop in them! Well the big change here is that all previously developed land can now (subject to scale issues) be considered as suitable for redevelopment. Again though lets look at the detail.

Garden Grabbing- this has now been put on a formal basis- no development in people`s gardens- but strangely this only applies in settlements!

Local Plan policies- if adopted since 2004 they remain in situ for 12 months after that they can no longer be relied on as the cornerstone of decision making

Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development - unfortunately the fallback position if no  policies are in place was not accompanyed by a definition of sustainable development in the glossary that accompanied the document.

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