Reacting to the announcement of Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill in the Queen’s Speech today Richard Hebditch, External Affairs Director at the National Trust said:
“It sounds like there could be some positive measures around neighbourhood planning in the new Bill, but overall we’re concerned that further reforms could create more confusion and uncertainty about what the rules are, and not solve the real problems with housing delivery.
“We’ll look carefully at proposals to restrict the use of planning conditions. Concerns about wildlife, archaeology, landscape and impact on communities will always have to be considered – that is what we have a planning system for. The best place to do this is as part of a planning application, rather than through using conditions. Government should be clear that if developers cannot address concerns about impacts on nature, heritage and green spaces, councils will be able to refuse applications.
“We’re worried that planning is becoming a service for developers rather than a balanced, independent process. There is a danger that that too often, planning permission can be pushed through – even where it goes against a council’s local plan. Even our finest landscapes and important green space like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belts are under pressure.”