Greens call for major improvements and one-year delay in introducing new national planning rules

Green Party members in Surrey have responded to the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – calling for major changes and a delay in implementing the framework’s proposals.

Cllr Sarah Finch said “The proposed new planning framework would take away protection for our precious countryside and urban green spaces. This would make it easier for developers to build on Green Belt, and put pressure on residents to allow back garden development. This will mean a rush of building in places where it is least sustainable rather than regeneration of brownfield sites, and will promote urban sprawl without providing the social housing that our Borough needs.”

“The proposals expose this Government’s bias towards big business – they have been written to help developers, many of whom are major funders of the Conservative Party.”

Cllr Jonathan Essex said, “There is an urgent need to build more homes, in order to address the housing crisis, but the main obstacle isn’t the planning system, it’s the lack of money – thanks in no small part to the Government’s decision to cut the affordable housing budget by 60%.”

“We need a proper planning strategy for the UK as a whole, which covers job creation, transport networks, housing and renewable energy generation, and addresses issues such as demographic and climate change. We can’t leave everything to the market – we need to planning to ensure development is sustainable and in the right places.”

The Green Party is calling for a year’s delay in bringing the planning framework into effect – to give sufficient time for all areas to have a local plan that reflects the final version of the new plan. As the NPPF proposes a ‘default yes’ to applications where the local authority plans are out of date, it will mean ‘open season’ for developers in places like Reigate and Banstead where there is no up-to-date plan. Cllr Sarah Finch said, “If the NPPF comes into force as planned next spring there will be a window of opportunity for developers to grab the places highlighted as needing protection in the local plans. Therefore we recommend that the NPPF is delayed for at least a year, to give sufficient time for all councils to finish their plans and the government to add elements to ensure that we plan for a sustainable future.

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