The national planning policy framework (NPPF) from early last July has sparked off quite the debate in conservation, as you can see from a recent post we did on Storify here.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, for one thing, the NPPF has the potential to put the UK’s famous countryside in jeopardy, as the National Trust has been arguing since the beginning.
Under the NPPF as it currently exists, communities would be allowed to determine their own urban development, which is said to be a step towards increasing social housing. Fair enough; urban growth’s an important part of economic success after all. However, looking at the overly-complicated process involved in deciding which areas are to be developed, it’s clear that the process is far too involved to attract much in the way of local interest outside of business concerns, meaning that urban sprawl on the level of US cities could become a reality if left unchecked. Anyways is it really wise to put the country’s ecological future in the hands of private companies?
In fact, Tony Burton observed in a recent article in the Guardian:
“From a focus on communities, we now see business placed centre stage: planning policy is to be ‘pro-growth’– the default answer to development is ‘yes’– and financial considerations are placed at the core of decision-making. Neighbourhood forums are to be established to prepare plans with the sole purpose of promoting business, and with a brief to plan for more development but not less.”
The Guardian is also currently running a live discussion on the subject. If you have any questions for either side, it’s worth checking out.
Interested in having your voice heard? The National Trust has a petition to sign here as well as more information for community activism. You can also follow the debate on the National Trust’s blog here.
What are your thoughts on the current debate? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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