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LGA: People must have more say over developments in their area

Wed 27 Jul 2011

Local people should be given more of a say over what type of developments take place in their area, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.

According to David Parsons, chairman of the environment board at the LGA, there is an urgent need to "get Britain building again".

However, he said any new planning regime must consider the wishes and requirements of people who live close to proposed developments.

Indeed, Mr Parsons stated that residents and those who need a home must be given a "powerful voice to express the type of development they would like to see".

As a result, he believes that any efforts to streamline the planning system must not inadvertently diminish the "power of local communities".

Nevertheless, Mr Parsons said he welcomed efforts to simplify the regime in the draft National Planning Policy Framework, as replacing the existing rules with a more "concise and efficient" alternative will make it easier for developers and councils.

The draft document has also been supported by the British Property Federation, which said planning policy must be "succinct and to the point" in order to fuel growth and sustainable development.

Karen Cooksley, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "The big message from the draft framework is that the government is seeking to prioritise growth and help increase the number of homes being built. It is a welcome change that planning decision makers are told bluntly that their default position is 'yes'.

"However, some commentators are acting as if this is 'yes to anything'. It's not. The presumption is expressly stated as being in favour of sustainable development. And the requirement for greater community engagement by developers - strongly stated in the Localism Bill - is emphasised again.

"We think local authorities, developers and everyone else involved in the planning process would be well advised to take account of the key messages in the draft and start gearing up now to deliver the policies in the draft NPPF.

"The nuances may change as a result of the consultation process but the overarching themes won't - Ministers have been stressing the importance they attach to economic and housing growth, better community engagement and greater accountability for planning decisions at local level since they took office. Along with the Localism Bill this draft Framework shows they mean what they say."ADNFCR-2761-ID-800636358-ADNFCR

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