NPPF – First Quick Impressions – Closed Source Planning is here

Having read through the draft the first impression is how similar the document is the to leaked draft of a month ago. Indeed very few textual changes, mostly editorial changes shifting things around.

The textual changes are relatively few – ill highlight these in a future post in more detail, mostly these are welcome but a few odd omissions. Ill list a few key amendments later today.

The structure no longer sticks to the silly 3Ps approach, and there is a new section on Sustainable Communities which makes a lot of sense.

Not of the key problematic dog whistle policy shifts have been amended or rectified in any meaningful way. It is these top 6-10 issues that the debates around the NPPF will coalesce around. In the week i’ll do a list of these set out as campaigning talking points and a template for letters and emails by campaign groups and interested individuals.

The document is eminently fixable is these changes are made. The issue is whether or not the government has an open mind on these issues or will it only be persuaded by outrage of the forests sell off variety.

The signs so far are not encouraging. If the government really believed in open source planning it would have launched now an open source process. It would have enabled para by para comments using an on-line comments system, where people can see others comments. It would have published the results of the scoping exercise from earlier this year. It would have engaged directly communities of interest in specialist sectors inviting them to submit sections – indeed the ‘consultation’ seems the very definition of a closed source process. No alternative drafts or versions are invited. Indeed the press release says nothing at all about the process of consultation.

If an LPA ‘consulted’ in this way – simply putting on a website and arranging a few meetings to ‘explain the changes it would be slaughtered on the alter of local public opinion. Where is the ‘genuine listening process’ we have seen on health reforms. As ‘enemies of enterprise’ are planners and non-developer stakeholders to be ignored?

Which is why the concept of open source planning is an utter sham, a cloak for shifting the planning system to the meet wholly and without qualification the needs of landowners, to maximise unearned rentier income and not production, and away from meeting the needs of communities and businesses (who will no longer be able to afford workplaces). Away from protecting the environment and towards removes restraints, by the libel that minimal restraints are ‘burdens’. It is the highjacking of the planning system by one sector, those who have major land interests, by redefining sustainable development as development that meets their interests.

Im sure over the coming weeks many groups will be getting together to prepare an alternative acceptable draft and to fiercely campaign for it.

One thought on “NPPF – First Quick Impressions – Closed Source Planning is here

  1. Pingback: Full NPPF Commentary in One Post « Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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