The government’s new planning proposals seem rife for abuse by developers and further open the door for the alleged ‘backhanders’ made to the planners.
The proposals basically force councils to make a “presumption in favour of development”, which as Alice Hardiman, acting head of planning for the RSPB said: “This is effectively allowing planning applications to be bought and sold.”
The Greenest Planning Ever Coalition was set up last October to represent 22 organisations who oppose the proposals with members like the RSPB, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Woodland Trust, WWF and the National Trust.
Among the concerns in the national planning policy framework (NPPF), are the greenfield sites, which are not officially designated as greenbelt, will be at risk of development.
The groups have said that if the proposals were not amended they could backfire on the government in the same way that proposals to sell off the forestry estate in England this year forced the government into an embarrassing U-turn
“Planning is for people, not for profit,’ Dame Fiona Reynolds, director of the 3 million-strong National Trust, wrote. “This finally sounds the death-knell to the principle established in the 1940s that the planning system should be used to protect what is most special in the landscape, creating a tool to promote economic growth in its stead… Weakening protection now risks a return to the threat of sprawl and uncontrolled development that so dominated public debate in the 1930s.”
Developers will only need to show that their proposals will deliver growth. Other considerations, such as impact on communities, nature and landscape, will be pushed aside.