Announcing the submission of the Local Government Association's evidence to the CLG Select Committee on the National Planning Policy Framework, Cllr David Parsons, Chairman of the LGA Environment and
Housing Board, said:
"The LGA has long argued for the simplification of the planning system and wants local communities freed from rigid central government edicts on what kind of development should go where. The draft NPPF takes a powerful step towards delivering on both fronts, with a desirable emphasis on local plans which will give communities the power to set development priorities to meet their needs.
"However, for this approach to work local government must be given enough time to consult with their communities to create plans that promote the sort of development that will support local economies, improve people's quality of life and protect and enhance local environments. At the moment the time-frame is too tight and the process for getting local plans approved is too bureaucratic and complex. It needs to be streamlined.
"Local authorities share the government's ambition to deliver high-quality new housing and development for their areas. But erecting new buildings is only part of the challenge of sustainable development and councils must be able to access the funds necessary to finance infrastructure and meet the broader needs of a local area. To achieve this local authorities must have reasonable leverage to ensure developments are viable for the local community, not just developers, and the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – must have equal weight in the final framework.
"The proposed "presumption in favour of sustainable development" can work, but only if councils are given the tools and confidence to say "no" to developers if a proposal is unsuitable. It is also vitally important that local communities have the power to dictate how buildings are used, whether they are new or old. Local communities must be able to shape the personality of the neighborhoods in which they live."