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Government planning proposals take another knock

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21 December 2011: MPs today published a report that’s very critical of the proposed National Planning Policy Framework.

Campaign for Better Transport and others have argued that the Government’s proposed changes to planning policy would lead to increased sprawl and congestion.

The select committee report particularly singles out transport and quotes our evidence to the select committee. It concludes that “the transport section of the NPPF is a good illustration of lack of balance in the document as currently drafted… it gives the impression that the ‘sustainable’ part of ‘sustainable development’ can be jettisoned almost at will.”

The report highlights the need to reinforce policies on using brownfield land first and protecting town centres, including prioritising office development in town centres rather than in out of town business parks.

In its initial response, the Government acknowledges that the report makes ‘constructive suggestions’ on brownfield land, town centre first policy and other things. Requirements that most development should occur on previously developed urban ‘brownfield’ land, where it is more likely to be served by public transport, and that new offices should be covered by the ‘town centre first’ policy are likely to be re-instated.

Campaign for Better Transport published research during the consultation period on the NPPF showing that exempting offices from the town centre first policy would lead to massive expansion of business parks near motorways, adding to the costs to the economy from congestion.

By guest blogger Richard Bourn

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