Colin - You and I have had a few exchanges on Twitter, so it's not quite true to imply that NT has not engaged with you so far. The Trust has welcomed the Prime Minister's intervention this week, and his reaffirmation of the need for balance in the planning system. Fiona Reynolds set out some of our specifics this morning at an event organised by the BPF with Greg Clark, so I hope we are now seeing some sensible discussions about how we ensure the NPPF meets the PM's personal aspirations for a properly balanced approach (see http://www.propertyweek.com/news/national-trust-unveils-nppf-shopping-list-at-heated-debate/5025022.article for a report of the BPF event)
You ask why the NPPF is such a big issue for us. Our charitable purposes oblige us to promote places of historic interest and natural beauty of all kinds, and not just those that we happen to own. Even if that was not the case, it is not true to say that no NT property will be affected. The setting of our properties is a constituent part of their significance, and so we have a direct interest as property owners too.
One of our founders, Octavia Hill, was one of the original campaigners for social housing and decent homes. She saw no conflict between the provision of houses, and the supply of sufficient open space and natural beauty for people to enjoy - 'open air sitting rooms', as she called them.
You begin your article by drawing attention to our housing scheme at Cliveden, and end it by saying that we are not interested in growth or houses. You can't have it both ways, surely?
We are very much interested in ensuring that there are sufficient houses, but also in making sure that the decisions that are made now are properly thought through with the long term in mind.
We probably won't be issuing detailed policy recommendations on population growth, mind.