Boles Makes an Error and Says Reviewed Green Belt Boundaries Should Not be Permanent
With regard to the Westminster Hall debate Boles made an error with regard to the duration of local plans. Political hay is already being made of this
The rquirement of the NPPF of course is that plans (para 167).
be drawn up over an appropriate time scale, preferably a 15-year time horizon, take account of longer term requirements, and be kept up to date;
Boles said in the Westminster Hall debate response to a question on the York Green Belt that:
There is nothing in the Localism Act 2011, in the NPPF or in any aspect of Government planning policy that requires someone to plan beyond 15 years. So, anybody who is suggesting that there is any requirement to safeguard land or wrap it up in wrapping paper and ribbons for the future development between 2030 and 2050 is getting it wrong. There is no reason for it and my hon. Friend can knock that suggestion straight back to wherever it came from.
This is clearly wrong, did someone email hasty advice to his ipad?. The NPPF requires that they should be defined over an appropriate length and ‘take account of longer term requirements’. This is a good example of sloppy drafting in the NPPF as many pointed out, the previous requirement was ‘at least 15 years’.
One such longer term requirement of course is Green Belts. Para. 79 of the NPPF states that ‘the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.’ This has always been taken as extending well beyond the lifespan of a local plan. In the days of structure plans it was take as at least the lifespan of the stricture plan (20-25 years) and beyond. Indeed this was the original justification of the areas of safeguarded land within the inner edge of the Green Belt.
Indeed para 83 of the NPPF says that
authorities should consider the GreenBelt boundaries having regard to their intended permanence in the long term, so that they should be capable of enduring beyond the plan period.
The permanence of Green Belt would be undermined if they were altered every 5 years.
This is clearly an issue for LPAs in undertaking strategic reviews of Green Belts. However there is nothing which suggest the appropriate period is 50 years. This is just York being excessively cautious. Boles should be graciuous enough to write to York and clarify the matter.