Action for Market Towns #NPPF Response

Action for Market Towns response to the consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

  • AMT represents market towns and small towns – where 20% of population lives.

  • AMT concerned that definition of ‘sustainable development’ not consistent throughout document.

  • Concerned that interpretation of ‘sustainable’ may be misinterpreted or misused: “We need to ensure that unscrupulous developers cannot use the presumption to avoid presenting plans that are well-constructed and abide by appropriate standards. We also must ensure that developers cannot just bamboozle a community into approving a plan that is against the community’s interests.  The planning process should become more, and not less, democratic.”

  • Reference should be made to community led plans.

  • AMT supports the fact that the NPPF maintains the ‘town centres first’ policy approach – but very concerned that  NPPF’s wording has been reduced and somewhat changed, which could result in a dilution of the effectiveness of the town centre first policy.  This might also result in the misinterpretation of the policy by some.

  • NPPF should include statement to the effect that the presumption in favour of sustainable development should not override the ‘town centre first’ policy where there is no adopted Local or Neighbourhood Development Plan.  And the development control tests set out in PPS4 – the sequential test and the impact assessment framework – should be retained.

  • AMT keen to ensure that diversity of town centres is not understated and want NPPF expanded to include more than just a focus on retail and leisure and instead refer to make reference to broader drivers for creating sustainable town centres.

  • AMT concerned that some developers will use the lack of an up-to-date Local Plan to submit proposals that do not meet local requirements or the needs of a local community, especially in areas where there is no adopted Neighbourhood Plan.  Where there is an adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan, but no up-to-date local plan, we would like clarity over whether it is the Neighbourhood Development Plan or the NPPF that would take precedence.

  • Essentially, NPPF needs greater clarity.

Action for Market Towns (AMT) – the national organisation representing small and market towns in the UK, where up to a fifth of the population lives, has submitted its response to the Draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) after consultation with its own members.

Policy Manager Alison Eardley said:“The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has certainly stirred debate, and Action for Market Towns, like many organisations, is very concerned about the Draft. As it stands, it is open for misinterpretation or misuse and gives developers the opportunity to bamboozle communities into improving plans against community interest.“However, AMT supports the idea of Neighbourhood Planning putting greater decision-making powers and more funding decisions in the hands of local people.“AMT has long championed Community Led Planning in its broadest sense and its experience shows that with determination and a little guidance communities are ready to take control.“Our response has enabled us to voice both our concerns with the NPPF and our support for Community Led Planning.”

Read AMT’s full response to the Draft NPPF here {opens pdf}

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