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London, 8th September 2011 – Commenting on Decentralisation Minister, Greg Clarke’s announcement earlier this week regarding the draft National Planning Policy Framework, Jeff Field, Director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Planning team, said: “The system in the UK remains plan-led, there is a need for a strong evidence base, communities are given the opportunity to have their say, and the natural environment, including the green belt, is given protection.”
“At long last we also see a positive approach to development management. We view this as one of the highlights because it allows for constructive debate, hopefully reducing applicants' costs. Clearly if a scheme in principle is wrong then that is the end of it, but over the last 10 years or so, local authorities have been frightened to negotiate or offer positive thoughts when schemes become sensitive. With the government's backing, there should be greater co-operation. This approach will not undermine the plan-led system as the plan is the starting point for planning decisions.
“The presumption in favour of sustainable development is what is needed right now. We support the government in its attempts to simplify the planning system and in seeking to ensure that decision-makers act more positively towards development. The development sector makes up a significant element of the economy which needs to be encouraged in order to continue to bring forward both large and small scale development proposals.”
Jeff Field continued: “The planning process is a difficult one for all participants. This will continue both because of the impacts and because of the important decisions that need to be made, which change the lives of those affected.
“We recognise the feelings of those who seek to protect the environment. However, the Framework is sufficient to ensure protection where it is needed provided Local Plans are prepared in a positive manner.
Jeff Field concluded: “Access to housing, jobs, schools and leisure facilities should be available to everyone and these call frequently for complex balanced judgments. We cannot have protection for the privileged when society cannot meet the needs of those worse-off. Councils up and down the country will have to get their acts together quickly and make responsive and grown-up decisions about development strategies. This is what the economy needs and what society needs. “
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