National Planning Policy Framework / Government changes to planning
1st September 2011
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The Government plans to simplify the Whitehall planning guidance.

England’s national planning policy is now over 1,000 pages long, on top of volumes of Regional Strategies created under the last Government, and in addition to councils’ own Local Plans. Planning has become lost in translation – the sheer complexity of planning rules makes it inaccessible for both local firms and local residents. The planning regime has become the preserve of lawyers, town hall officials and pressure groups, rather than empowering local communities.

The Coalition Government is committed to decentralising power to local people and making the planning process more accessible both to local people and local firms. We are already abolishing Labour’s unpopular Regional Strategies via the Localism Bill, protecting the Green Belt from top-down removal in 30 towns and cities across England.

The next stage of reform is to condense down the 1,000 pages of confusing and contradictory guidance to a succinct 52 page policy document, called the National Planning Policy Framework. This has been published by the Government in draft, and is out for public consultation until 17 October 2011.

Do you agree with the suggestion that these reforms will not undermine important protection of the countryside, or that it will lead to “Los Angeles urban sprawl”?

The Coalition is committed to protecting our natural and historic environment. This new document safeguards valued, national protection such as Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as ensuring measures which protect wildlife, biodiversity, cultural heritage and which tackle light pollution. It also proposes a new designation to protect local green spaces in need of special protection, which I believe will be welcomed in Derbyshire.

Indeed, the Framework explicitly attaches great importance to Green Belts in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment and checking the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas. It also directly states that local plans should minimise adverse effects on the local or natural environment.

These practical changes are part of a series of broader reforms to drive sustainable development, to promote local economic growth and protect the environment. Local firms and local communities are currently hindered by a planning system that can be slow, costly and gives them no certainty. Yet development will not be allowed if it is clearly in conflict with the environmental and other safeguards in the Framework.

Local communities will be the driving seat by being able to shape the shape of their local communities, supported by the innovation of neighbourhood planning – increasing the involvement of local residents across Heanor and Derbyshire.

I would encourage you to read the summary to the new Framework available at:

and please do use the opportunity to communicate your views directly via the public consultation.

Cllr Kevin Parkinson
07775 711466

Cabinet Member Regeneration
Conservative Councillor Greater Heanor Division Derbyshire County Council
Cabinet Support Member Quality of Place, Amber Valley Borough Council
Conservative Councillor Shipley Park, Horsley and Horsley Woodhouse Ward Amber Valley Borough Council

About the Author

Sarah A

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I'm Sarah. I've lived in Heanor with my family for over 10 years and I'm passionate about our beautiful little corner of this historical county. If you know of something that's great about our area,...

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