Friday, 23 March 2012

Budget and NPPF - a nation holds its breath

Plenty of pro-growth measures in the Budget, in infrastructure and housing, which are welcome. But the projects that are being supported will still need planning permission – so it's a shame we didn't get the National Planning Policy Framework issued on the same day, in a form that reinforced the message. It is promised for next week.  

Speaking to the Parliamentary Architecture and Planning Group on the day after the Budget, planning Minister Bob Neill told us that the NPPF would be strong on design quality. Neill mentioned certain poor development being thrown up in booming China as an example of the dangers of ignoring design quality.

But he made it clear that the NPPF was also intended to deliver faster planning consents, needed by business in order for us to compete globally - and seemed blithely unaware that the twin goals of speedier outcomes and quality outcomes might turn out (in practice – no problem in theory) to be in conflict.

He said that existing PPS’s and PPG’s would be abolished - except where there was important technical content that needed to be retained (that sounds like a muddle in the making).

So if PPS5 turns out to be no longer needed, perhaps we could flog it to the Chinese – a win-win for a more competitive UK.  

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