RESCUE believes that the current planning system is confusing, cumbersome and in places, contradictory. In principle, we welcome the Government’s stated intention to simplify the system and to make it more accessible to both developers and the general public alike.
However, RESCUE does not believe that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPFF), as drafted, provides a suitable alternative. In redrafting and slimming down the existing documentation, the Government has created a proposed planning system which offers very little regulation to protect the historic or natural environment from destruction or damage by development. The automatic presumption in favour of sustainable development appears to lay the foundations for what could be an unregulated development free-for-all, in which both local authority planning departments and local communities will have little or no reasonable capacity to challenge inappropriate or undesirable construction projects. RESCUE would prefer to see a balanced system within which proposals can be judged on their individual merits, taking into account their potential impact on the environment as a whole.
RESCUE also does not believe that the draft NPPF provides the same level of protection for the Historic Environment that is currently provided by PPS5. In this respect, the NPPF fails the Government’s own aims, as the Government has previously avowed that it intends no dilution of current protection regimes to ensue from this revision of planning policy.