Monday, 30 May 2016

Planners hit back at countryside campaigners

The chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association and a government minister have criticised opponents of new planning rules.

Get on our land

Kate Henderson speaking at a fringe session of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Sunday, said much of the debate around the national planning policy framework is polarised.

Ms Henderson said: ‘What we have seen over the last weeks and months is a very polarised debate about the future of planning and what that should be.

‘Most notably the Daily Telegraph campaign Hands off our land, and that’s reflecting an emotion but its not going to help people who desperately need houses.’

She said there is a need for a much more sophisticated debate around planning.

Bob Neill, local government minister, echoed Ms Henderson’s concerns, saying there is a need for a sensible debate and described the controversy around the NPPF as ‘unfortunate’.

Mr Neill criticised reports that the NPPF will threaten the green belt, saying it will protect it.

He said: ‘The people who were going to build on the green belt were the previous government. John Prescott’s green belt strategies removed green belt protection.’

The NPPF has proved controversial with campaign groups, including the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Campaigners fear the framework, which simplifies planning rules and contains a presumption in favour of sustainable development, will threaten the countryside.

Inside Housing’s Get on our land campaign is calling for more public land to be made available for development

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