Leicestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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NPPF changes criticised

Proposed changes to NPPF could lead to development on more vulnerable greenfield sites across Leicestershire

We responded to the recent consultation on the government’s proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) voicing a Leicestershire perspective.  It was important for us to add our views to the many others, both inside and outside CPRE, which expressed concern over these changes.


We were critical of certain aspects of the Government’s plans to deliver more housing by relaxing requirements for planning consents for housing developments.


Rural Affordable Housing Concerns
One concern was their impact on the supply of affordable homes in rural areas. The cumulative effect of the focus on increased home ownership, market based starter homes and the definition of starter homes, up to £250,000 in value, as affordable housing was a particular concern.


We felt that these proposals would limit the provision of affordable housing for locals and would undermine the rural ‘exception site’ provision as a mechanism to meet local affordable housing needs in rural locations.


New Settlements – loss of more greenfield land?
The Government proposed greater policy support for new settlements.   Leicestershire lacks national planning designations such as Green Belts.   In our view, this policy change will result inevitably in an extension of development into the undesignated and unprotected countryside of Leicestershire and involve an increasing loss of greenfield land.


‘Housing Delivery Test’
Government proposals for a ‘housing delivery test’ involve too much ‘carrot’ and not enough ‘stick’. They propose to compensate the failure of developers to deliver homes on their existing planning permissions by requiring local planning authorities to allocate more sites for housing.


This is not the way to make up the shortfall and build more houses.  Recently produced evidence suggests that house-builders are sitting on planning permissions that deliver around 500,000 homes.  This suggests that it is the practices of the house-builders that are at the root of the failure to build a higher number of homes annually.  Without penalties on developers, little is likely to change.


In Leicestershire, if this test is implemented as the Government proposes, we could see significant pressure for development on vulnerable greenfield locations, particularly in the central and western areas of the county.


Are you worried about the direction of change in the planning system?  If so, join CPRE Leicestershire and help to fight to protect Leicestershire’s countryside.

 

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