Another weekend with the NPPF on the frontpages, especially on Saturday, and the big news is that it was a weekend of Détente – well at first we thought.
The news came first thing on Saturday with an interview with Greg Clark in the Times spread by the press association
If anything in the consultation paper had failed to stress the importance of protecting the environment, he would think again
Later on the Today programme this was denied as being a ‘u turn’ of course it never is.
He said “Let’s be forensic about this – if there are particular aspects or sentences that you don’t think express clearly enough the protections that are there, then let’s talk about it’ – forensic familiar term to readers of this site, encouraging
But on C4 News in a debate with the NTs Ben Plowden it was back to the bad spin, with Greg Clark actually quoting a paragraph of the NPPF to claim the ‘brownfield first’ policy hadn’t dropped – dear dear, it doesnt and indeed the impact statement is quite explicit that it had.
Fiona Reynolds of the National Trust responded
Whether he is prepared to listen, and to make the substantial changes necessary, remains to be seen
And indeed late on Sunday completely undermining Greg Clark the Chancellor weighed in with an astonishing article with Eric Pickles in the FT “No-one should underestimate our determination to win this battle.” This clearly shows the government has no clear line, or strategy on this matter and is so keen to not appear weak as it did over the forest sell offs that it is prepared to play a game of chicken with protestors.
John Howell Mp was in less of a compromising mood at Conservative Home, too close to the NPPF perhaps, oddly claiming again that the ‘presumption was ‘not a tool for determining each and every application’ – oh so you dont issues all of those press release then on the 15th July saying it was?
Whilst the Observer called the NPPF a ‘frightfully cavalier document”
Oddly the express hasnt got in on th act – but their front pages are very predictable
An offer of talks that was immediately taken up, there will be talks between several groups next week, watch this space, although Osborne’s intervention required a swift follow up, was the offer for talks genuine? The emergent Campaign Against Sprawl has published its draft manifesto and has been getting a good response in seeking out a positive plan-led alternative.
To my mind the strangest piece in the weekend papers was the most spectacularly twee characterisation of England under threat from Sir Roy Strong which is utterly beyond parody and included a comment from one palingenetic knight of the shires
For years I’ve thought that I would always end up living somewhere in the English countryside, somewhere remote, green and old-fashioned. Somewhere free of the rubbish of our modern British life – PC, multiculturalism, feminism, human rights, loud spoilt children – and reasonably close to the English idyll – bicycles, church, little post office, vicar, etc. But why on earth would I want to move to the countryside if it was all concrete, bland housing estates, and immigrants? That’s not England!
Indeed some of the comments are getting so nasty that Ian McKay had a piece on how the far right are taking advantage indeed a lot of the arguments about the NPPF have been between two wings of the far right, the palingenetic and the tea-party wings. Rowan Moore in the Observer wondered whats the lefts angle was – he such speak to Bob Neill MP.
There was a particularly nasty piece in the Daily Mail which imagined all the fuss over the NPPF would go away of we had no immigrants – which cried out to be debunked