There has been a major update in the campaign against the planned changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has sent a letter to the National Trust stating his desire to protect the UK’s magnificent countryside which he refers to as a National Treasure. The letter is an encouraging development for the campaign.
We have been following the National Trust’s campaign to oppose planning reforms, which are currently under review, over the last month. Ministers are pushing through plans to replace more than 1,000 pages of planning regulations with just 52 in the NPPF. The changes are said to play a key part in making the planning system less complex and more accessible, and in promoting sustainable growth. However, the National Trust and other environmental organisations argue that the reforms will lead to blighted landscapes, urban sprawl, more congestion and an undermining of local democracy.
David Cameron has said;
“I believe that sustainable development has environmental and social dimensions as well as an economic dimension, and we fully recognise the need for a balance between the three. Indeed, the purpose of the planning system as a whole, and of our proposals for it, is to achieve such a balance.”
The Prime Minister’s letter has given campaigners confidence that the campaign against the changes has attracted a high level of attention, and hopefully that the government will be rethinking the reforms.
Fiona Reynolds, the director general of the National Trust, welcomed the comments, saying:
“The Trust will continue to encourage people to add their voices to our petition, as it is essential the government does not underestimate the strength of feeling among the population.”
However, Cameron also warned campaigners that new developments were essential to boost Britain’s stalling economy. He said businesses should be able to expand and that the difficulty encountered by first-time buyers in getting on the property ladder was “unacceptable”.
As the consultation process will close on the 17th of October 2011, campaigners are eager to make sure people make their voice heard by signing their petition and even writing to their MP, both of which can be done from the campaign website.
What do you think of David Cameron’s letter; does it offer hope for the planning for people campaign? Let us know if you are joining the campaign or if you have signed the petition in our comments section below.