The government recently announced a review of planning policy, designed to consolidate policy statements, circulars and guidance documents into a single consolidated National Planning Policy Framework. Key elements of the framework are that it emphasises localism (in the spirit of the localism bill), empower communities; reflecting a proportionate, effective and relevant approach to planning policy and being user-friendly and accessible.
The government asked for representations from a wide variety of groups in its consultation – from planning professionals, local authorities, community groups and individuals to “produce a shorter, more decentralised and less bureaucratic National Planning Policy Framework.”
Rescue, in our response,have made strong representations that PPS5, only introduced in May 2010, should be defended during this review, and its powers should remain in place in any new emerging framework. Rescue emphasised that for local decisions to be made effectively on protecting local heritage, a call should be made in the framework for making heritage professional services statutory for local authorities.“It is now the case that the very fabric of the country’s historic environment is threatened with real damage and loss, due to the under-resourcing at local levels. With the Government having quite clearly stated that it is at the local level where decision-making should take place, we strongly urge that heritage protection services within Local Planning Authorities should be afforded statutory status as a result of this review. Only through such a measure could the Government be assured that local communities would have the authority to exercise the appropriate control over their environment, enabling them to identify, highlight and protect from destruction, any and all elements of heritage interest that they consider of worth.”
Our full response is included below.