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Planning reform at what expense?

Reforms could impact on homes, infrastructure and regeneration communities were promised to level up.

Immediate changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) would allow Government to progress with planning reform at the expense of levelling up communities.

That's the conclusion of our consultation response to the NPPF. We warn that changes will further reduce the amount of homes and infrastructure delivered across England as they fundamentally upset the checks and balances that underpin the planning system.

Drawing on opinions gathered from members across 16 mainly in-person roundtables in each region of England, we stated that further measures to improve policy will be critical, not just to protect nature but also to create green jobs and sustainable economic growth.

With many plans and projects now on hold, our members will be keeping a close eye on future consultations promised by government and the progress of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill as these will show if Ministers are listening to planner’s advice or making their decisions privately before consulting others.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive, said: “We can be in no doubt that the changes to national planning policy proposed in this consultation would profoundly impact plans and projects for housing, infrastructure, and amenities that communities and businesses need to thrive.

“Public confidence in England’s planning system is at an all-time low. Our members agree that change is needed but we’re concerned that the proposed NPPF will not deliver the homes, infrastructure and regeneration that communities were promised, and need, to level them up.”

Richard Blyth, Head of Policy and Research, said: “It is reasonable to favour local consent for plans and projects over abstract targets. But in the absence of effective checks and balances, these changes would leave communities and businesses with few guarantees that their needs will be considered, and less certainty that land will be made available where necessary to make places sustainable.”

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