Griff Rhys Jones of Civic Voice – #NPPF ‘Bullys Charter’ ‘a badly-framed piece of legislation’


Mr Rhys Jones said: “It [the draft policy] is just a badly-framed piece of legislation. It opens the way not just for the well-intentioned but the badly-intentioned to go ahead.

“It sort of assumes that all development is for the good of the country. That is absolutely not the case. This legislation will allow people to start dotting the countryside with rancheros.

“In Ireland — or Northern Ireland where the planning legislation was allowed to slip quite badly during the Troubles — the result is a farmer’s house in every field.

“It’s no good saying that the planning regulations are not supposed to allow that to happen, that is what will happen because it is badly framed.”

Mr Rhys Jones described the planning changes as a bully’s charter because they were so weighted in favour of developers.

He agreed that changes to the current laws were needed, but said: “This is not the way to do it. Bad laws will only make for worse problems.”

Mr Rhys Jones is the president of Civic Voice, a national charity for the civic movement that has been championed by David Cameron.

Civic Voice is worried that the planning changes threaten what it describes as “everyday England” — the neighbourhoods, green spaces and town centres that do not have special protection.

Mr Rhys Jones was also concerned at the draft framework’s bias in favour of putting more shops into town centres. “That is not the be all and end all of what a town needs. It needs mixed use,” he said.

“People’s lives are not best served, particularly in towns, by putting an emphasis entirely on retail development.”

He was also critical of developers’ reluctance to build on land that has already been identified for development. There are an estimated 1.2 million undeveloped housing plots.

“What builders want to do is to build in ‘location prime’ areas,” said Mr Rhys Jones. “They don’t want to make the effort to make good out of wasted land.

“Recycling in landscape terms should be our key idea. That is the only sustainable future. Recycling means making good use of brownfield sites.”