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Planning reforms will deliver local growth with community support

A new, simplified planning framework that better supports growth and helps creates the homes and jobs that the country needs, puts unprecedented…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new, simplified planning framework that better supports growth and helps creates the homes and jobs that the country needs, puts unprecedented power into the hands of communities, and helps protect and enhance our natural and historic environment was published by Planning Minister Greg Clark today.

The new 50 page document, which replaces over 1,300 pages of inherited policy in 44 separate documents delivers on the Coalition Agreement’s commitment to “publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development and setting out national economic, environmental and social priorities” by April 2012.

The new Framework has been produced following an extensive consultation with Parliament and the public.

The Framework gives guidance to local councils in drawing up local plans and on making decisions on planning applications.

The Government aim is for every area to have a clear local plan which sets out local people’s views of how they wish their community to develop, consistent with the Framework and against which planning applications for planning permission will be judged.

Local plans have a responsibility to meet the objectively-assessed needs of their area for homes, business premises, schools and other social and cultural facilities, while protecting and enhancing the natural and historic environment.

The final Framework retains all of the key elements of the draft Framework published in July 2011, including:

  • enshrining the local plan - produced by local people - as the keystone of the planning system
  • making planning much simpler and more accessible - reducing over 1,300 pages of often impenetrable jargon in 44 separate documents into a clear, readable guide of 50 pages
  • establishing a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development that underpins all local plans and decisions
  • guaranteeing robust protections for our natural and historic environment, including the Green Belt, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • encouraging the use of brownfield land in a way determined locally.

In addition, the new Framework strengthens the requirement for new development to be of good design; supports local councils who wish to bring into being a new generation of garden cities; allows communities to specify where renewable energy such as wind farms should, and should not, be located; and following the recommendation of the Portas Review allows councils to provide the parking facilities in town centres that will help them compete with out-of-town shopping centres and supermarkets.

The new Framework comes into force with immediate effect for plan-making and decisions. Appropriate implementation arrangements agreed with the Local Government Association have been put in place for local authorities with up-to-date policies in local plans. Immediate advice and support is available to councils through a joint team of the Local Government Association, the Planning Inspectorate and the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

This is another important milestone in the Government’s historic mission to transfer power from the hands of unelected bodies and put it in the hands of people and communities. The Localism Act has allowed us to start scrapping Regional Spatial Strategies which gave development a bad name by imposing top down targets that owed nothing to local needs and threatened the Green Belt.

These reforms go a step further and make it clear that local communities have the responsibility and the power to decide the look and feel of the places they love.

Planning Minister Greg Clark said:

The new Framework has been strengthened by the responses to the consultation. We have confirmed the core reforms, sharpened the definition of the policies, and emphasised the essential balance that the planning system must achieve.

These reforms will help build the homes the next generation needs, it will let businesses expand and create jobs, and it will conserve what we hold dear in our matchless countryside and the fabric of our history.

Notes to editors

1. A copy of the National Planning Policy Framework can be found at:

2. The Government’s response to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s report on draft National Planning Policy Framework can be found at:

  1. Neighbourhood planning regulations: Consultation - Summary of responses was published today and can be found here: Neighbourhood planning gives local people a major statutory say in shaping development in their area. It empowers communities to produce a neighbourhood development plan, a neighbourhood development order or a Community Right to Build Order.

4. The neighbourhood planning regulations set out the requirements for designating neighbourhood areas and forums and preparing key elements of neighbourhood development plans, neighbourhood development orders and Community Right to Build orders. The regulations have been laid before Parliament with the intention that they come into force on 6 April 2012.

5. An assessment of how neighbourhood planning and the Community Right to Build will benefit communities and businesses was published today. Localism Act: Neighbourhood Plans and Community Right To Build - Impact Asessment is available here:


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Published 27 March 2012