DCLG has published the draft National Planning Policy Framework for consultation, after much anticipation and some delay. The consultation closes on 17 October, and includes four “planning reform workshops” in early September in London, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol. As this is the third draft (following the practitioners’ draft published in the Spring, and the draft framework leaked in June) there is a feeling this is more of a policy statement than a consultation, and that major changes are unlikely before the final version comes into force in 2012.
The NPPF is the centrepiece of reforms that aim to streamline the planning system, and introduce a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” for applications as long as they have “no over-riding conflict with the NPPF as a whole”. These will be much-reduced, with a single 50-page document replacing 25 Planning Policy Statements and Guidance notes, and 15 Minerals Planning Statements.