Charity accuses the government of refusing to listen after Osborne and Pickles reiterate planning reforms
The National Trust has labelled the government’s proposed planning reforms as fundamentally wrong and in need of a complete rewrite.
The charity, which has 3.6m members, has accused the government of refusing to listen after chancellor George Osborne and communities minister Eric Pickles reiterated the government’s determination to push through planning reforms.
Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust, said: “It’s not a case of a simple re-write of a few words here or there - the general tone of the planning framework is fundamentally wrong.”
“The government needs to be open to a new approach that genuinely delivers benefits for communities and the environment, as well as business.”
The Trust, which looks after 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments in Britain, has vowed to oppose any changes to planning rules that would lead to a green-light for poor quality development that would fail to deliver benefits to the wider community.
The government launched the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July in an attempt to simplify the planning structure. The framework, which reduces a thousand pages of planning guidelines into no more than 60, includes a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’.
Osborne and Pickles have argued that planning was key to the economic recovery. “No one should underestimate our determination to win this battle,” they said in a letter to the Financial Times on Monday.
“Planning reform is key to our economic recovery. Opponents claim, falsely, the government is putting the countryside in peril. We say that sticking with the old, failed planning system puts at risk young people’s future prosperity and quality of life.”
The National Trust argues that developers are submitting fewer plans not because of the planning system but because of the economic downturn. The Trust also said that unrestrained development in countries such as Ireland and Greece hasn’t led to economic success.
In a statement the National Trust said: “Osborne and Pickles argue that changes to the planning system are needed to promote house building, but according to the latest figures the percentage of applications approved by local authorities stands at 80%, a 10-year high.”