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  6. Prime Minister intervenes over planning reform concerns

Prime Minister intervenes over planning reform concerns

Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed to meet with CPRE and other groups like the National Trust concerned about the Government’s planning reform agenda.

His offer to discuss the implications of the Coalition’s draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came during Prime Minister’s questions in the Commons on 14 September.

Cameron told MPs: “I am very happy to meet anyone to discuss that, and I know that the National Trust has specifically already met the planning minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), and has had many reassurances about what the planning changes mean.”

The Prime Minister added: “We're going to have stronger local plans that gives local people a greater ability to decide what's in the local plan and what's out of the local plan, at the same time having a presumption in favour of sustainable development will cut a lot of bureaucracy in our system.

“But we're not changing rules for Green Belt, for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for Sites of Special Scientific Interest or for all the rest of it.”

“I do think that people need to focus on that, because we need sensible, sustainable development to go ahead without the bureaucracy and the top-down system of today, but with all the reassurances that people need.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities and Local Government has published a three-page ‘NPPF myth-buster’ document in a bid to counter what the department sees as widespread misconceptions about the purport of the draft NPPF.

Ministers have also issued a string of statements about the consultation exercise, the role and stance of the Planning Inspectorate and the definition of sustainable development as the administration hit back at what they insisted was biased and misleading press coverage about the planning debate.

Read the PM’s comments in Commons Hansard 14 Sept 2011 (Column 1036).

Read DCLG’s National Planning Policy Framework: Myth-Buster document.

Roger Milne

15 September 2011