Stone said that a serious delay would be a ‘tragedy’ for the UK economy

Crest Nicholson chief executive Stephen Stone has said a serious delay to the implementation of the government’s proposed planning reforms would be a “tragedy” that would damage
the UK economy.

In the face of huge pressure from councils and lobby groups opposed to reform, the government is considering delaying the implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF is due to introduce a presumption in favour of sustainable development where local plans are silent, indeterminate or out of date.

Stone conceded that the NPPF was “a bit light on detail” but told Building it was vital that the thrust of it was implemented quickly. “What would be a tragedy is if the government suddenly said there’s an impasse, and told local authorities ‘you’ve got two years to produce your plans,’ then in that time nothing will happen.

“A small delay is fine, but a long delay would be a disaster. Because it means you’ve got a long period of uncertainty which would be bad for the economic growth of the country.”

The government is under particular pressure to delay the reforms because anything between 70-95% of local plans could currently be classed as out of date, leaving large swathes of the country open to the presumption in favour of development.

The comments came as a House of Commons committee warned the NPPF as it stands is “contradictory and confusing”.

Architect Richard Rogers has also hit out at the proposed changes, saying the NPPF would allow inappropriate development that will “scar the country for generations”.