Cautious approval for new planning guidelines
The Government’s controversial streamlined planning guidelines for England have been given a cautious thumbs up by the Ramblers, following substantial changes made after consultation. The walking charity joined other environmental groups in criticising the initial draft of the National Planning Policy Framework for declaring a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’, without defining what ‘sustainable’ meant. But the new document states all development will be within environmental limits and removes the damaging phrase: ‘the default answer to development is yes’. The Ramblers is particularly pleased about a new emphasis on protecting and enhancing footpaths, sustainable transport and a directive to local planning authorities to ‘improve public access to and enjoyment of the coast’.
“The real test will be in its implementation at local level,” says Ramblers senior policy officer Janet Davis. “We’ll be meeting
with officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government to discuss the implementation of the new policies, and watching the process carefully.”