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RTPI responds on Government Guidance beta test website

24 October 2013

Responding to the Government’s consultation on the National Planning Guidance Practice Guidance (NPPG) beta test website, the RTPI warmly welcomed the Government’s ongoing commitment to provide a single portal to access up to date advice and make a number of recommendations that would ensure that the final site is as good as the beta test suggests it could be.

The RTPI stressed that it is essential that the Government sets out how it thinks viability of plans and sites is assessed in order to avoid each local plan examination and planning appeal having to adjudicate between methodologies.

It is essential that the Government sets out how it thinks viability of plans and sites is assessed in order to avoid each local plan examination and planning appeal having to adjudicate between methodologies.

The RTPI also pressed the point that the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Chief Planner must be given the power to act as a broker to ensure guidance from other departments or agencies does not contradict DCLG guidance or place unnecessary process burdens on the system.

The Institute also made the case for greater consistency over policy content. Guidance on renewables and oil and shale gas will be included but existing guidance on existing guidance on Travellers, waste management, Community Infrastructure Levy, Compulsory Purchase Orders is absent from the website. There is also no guidance on implementing key policy introduced in the National Planning Policy Framework on Garden Cities and new settlements.

Dr Peter Geraghty, President of the RTPI, said: “For it to work, there needs to be a ‘gatekeeper’ or ‘broker’ for the site to ensure that new guidance does not contradict what is already on there. The obvious choice for this role is DCLG’s Chief Planner and we strongly recommend that the Government adopts this recommendation. Without this role there’s a danger that the site does not provide the clarity Ministers want.

The Government has made great strides with the publication of the National Planning Guidance beta test website, but there is a still a way to go before it is complete and easy to use. We would welcome the opportunity for a structured review in 6 or 12 months’ time at which point practitioners will have fully digested the guidance suite as a whole, understand how the guidance is working on the ground and be able to report back on where revisions would be valuable.”

The RTPI made additional comments on viability, the Duty to Cooperate, prematurity, housing, climate change, housing standards, environment assessments, rural matters, local plans, neighbourhood planning, town centres and parking, design, landscape and open space, tourism, model forms and some technical and formatting issues.

  • The Institute’s full response to the consultation can be read here.