content top

National Planning Policy Guidance – a new initiative?

Whitehall has recently produced a new planning document, for consultation –  the National Planning Policy Guidance.   This is a framework document being brought in by the coalition government, as a replacement for the current gudelines, the Regional Spatial Strategy.

The Regional Spatial Strategy (or East of England Plan, as the revision covering Hertfordshire was known) has recently been revoked.  This removes the obligation on local planning authorities, such as North Herts District Council, to make provision for building vast numbers of houses, which would have significantly damaged the Green Belt.  However, there is still an obligation to make provision for genuine need.

Although the withdrawal of the RSS, along with the recent decision to refer the West of Stevenage development plans back to the Secretary of State for consideration, might be cause for celebration in North Herts, the spectre of the new initiative is causing some unease.

Primarily, the concern is that in place of the ‘strategic allocations’ of land for development there is a  ‘presumption in favour of development’, as well as a ‘requirement to cooperate across borders’.  Although vague, and only at the consultation stage at present, these phrases are not comforting.

The new document purports to simplify the forest of regulations and gudelines, which will be a good thing.  However, there is a lack of detail as to the precise nature of the guidelines, but the Parish Council will be keeping a close eye on the development of these guidelines, and we will work with our colleagues in the other North Herts parishes to ensure a sensible and co-ordinated response during the consultaion phase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *