Monday, March 10, 2014

On Line Planning Guidance

I need somebody to tell me if I am wrong, but it does seem that the final version of the on line Planning Guidance published today has corrected a mistake in the original and repeated by the Planning Minister about the weight that should or could be given to emerging plans. The law allows this to be at the reasonable discretion of the decision-maker and previous attempts to limit this to the very last stages of the adoption process seem to have failed before being overturned by the Courts. This lifts a cloud that Mr Boles had placed above those making neighbourhood plans so that weight can and must be given to such plans according to the robustness of the evidence base, the consistency with the NPPF (including the golden thread of sustainable development) and then also the stage reached including the level of public involvement. The decision-maker must also take into account the level of opposition to the emerging plan. Mr Boles should have read NPPF para 216. But on the issue of sustainable development, it will now be possible for new dwellings to be made out of unused agricultural buildings whatever the carbon and material costs in the conversion works or the remoteness of the location. It does not seem that the current Ministerial team or its advisers are very keen to apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development and I have had to engage my MP to see whether some reasonable standards and consistency can be achieved in the application of the principles of sustainability between PINS and the DCLG.

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