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National Planning Policy Framework

The Government published its long awaited National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on March 27th. The final document is improved, following intensive campaigning by all County Organisations of CPRE, and National CPRE.

The Government published its long awaited National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on March 27th. The final document is improved, following intensive campaigning by all County Organisations of CPRE, and National CPRE. CPRE Cornwall was particularly active and we thank those who wrote to their MPs showing concerns over the draft NPPF, which was written primarily with the help of developers; the one environmentalist involved – from the RSPB – distanced himself from the document, asserting that it was not the document to which he had contributed. As Private Eye points out regularly, developers are major financial supporters of the Conservative Party!

CPRE Cornwall’s main concern is the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ – which is a potential free for all for developers. Cornwall Council is enthusiastic about the NPPF and wants to dump 48,000 homes on the County – even more than that demanded by the unlamented John Prescott!

Our questions to MP’s and Councillors in Cornwall are:

(a) Why 48,000 houses when the Council appears to be doing nothing about the 9,000 empty houses in Cornwall?

(b) Why has the government abandoned its ‘brownfield first’ policy – using previously used land before green fields and good agricultural land?

(c) Why build houses where there are no jobs? Building construction creates few permanent jobs for anyone and a majority of those temporary construction jobs are filled from outside of our county.

(d) The Government’s claim that it has simplified the process is bogus. There is no mention in any detail in the NPPF of Minerals, Waste and Energy policies. So all Authorities will do their own thing!

(e) Sustainable is what? It is likely to allow anything to happen.

(f) There is little protection in the NPPF for land other than National Parks and AONBs. 75% of Cornwall is unprotected from development even though most land here is intrinsically beautiful.

(g) The NPPF is based on a false proposition – that the planning process it replaces held up/hindered development. Given that there are 300,000 building plots with permission available in England – the real reason for a lack of building is the recession and the difficulty in obtaining mortgages.

CPRE Cornwall does welcome the move to Neighbourhood Planning where Parishes and Town Councils can flex their muscles over involvement in the planning process. County/Borough Councils prefer to ignore local democracy – Cornwall Council’s conduct over the St Dennis Incinerator and the Truro Eastern Development show how intractable and contemptuous Councils can be towards the spirit of Localism.

Cornwall is a county under threat – and that threat comes from County Hall where ‘development at any price’ appears to be the mantra. Do contact CPRE Cornwall if you want to protect YOUR County. We have two websites www.cprecornwall.org.uk and www.cpre.org.uk. We also have close links with those opposed to the virus like spread of wind turbines in Cornwall and CPRE Cornwall has formed an informal alliance with Cornwall Protect – www.cornwallprotect.org.

The following government website will take you to the letter written by the Government’s Chief Planning Inspector about the introduction of the NPPF and the NPPF document itself:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/2115834.pdf.

If you wish to object to a planning application then you should refer to the relevant section of the NPPF from now onwards, and, of course, CPRE Cornwall is always ready to help.

Michael Bruton
Chairman


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