RTPI/TCPA/POS #NPPF concerns – New version of alternative draft takes these into account

We have continued to keep our proposed alternative draft version of the NPPF draft dealing with concerns raised by many bodies concerning heritage,  biodiversity and transport  issues.

In this latest version we have looked at issues raised by by the main planning and environmental bodies, the Town and Country Planning Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Planning Officers Society and the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.  In this batch we have also dealt with the concerns of the Green link coalition.

The aim has not been a lowest common denominator approach or worse a big tent approach accepting every change.  Rather it has been looking for common ground and accepting reasonable amendments that clarify issues and neither add unacceptably to length or divert the thrust of a more proactive document.

The alternative draft can be found here

A log of the changes here, including of those suggested which we think should not be made.  In the current draft of the changes log this considers

TCPA – pages 30 -36

RTPI pages 36- 40

POS – pages 40-43

Inevitably there were some suggested changes where they would have created legal problems or where they may have got the wrong end of the stick – these are set out.

We are making good progress within a  weeks we think we will have got through all of the major groups comments. Next will be the slightly duanting prospect of the CPRE and theNTs concerns.  As well as a few other bodies not considered such as the NFU and the CLBA.

What we hope this means is that it should be possible to ‘fix’ the key issues by broad consensus, leaving only the most difficult issues, concerning the ‘presumption’ and the duty to cooperate.

Shropshire and Herefordshire Church Spires Deliver rural broadband

BBC Herefordshire

Kingstone Church

The radio antenna on Kingstone Church tower connects with other equipment using line of sight

Hundreds of churches in Herefordshire and Shropshire could be used to improve access to broadband in rural areas.

The Hereford Diocese, which also covers south Shropshire, owns more than 400 churches.

Three of them have recently had antennae operated by Hereford-based company Allpay fitted on spires or towers.

It said more than 100 churches had expressed an interest in hosting wireless equipment.

Allpay said by putting line-of-sight radio antennae high on churches, broadband access could be delivered to some of the most hard-to-reach areas.

A trial was conducted at Kingstone Church earlier in the year, with Madley and Berghill also now fitted with the equipment.

Three more local churches have been approved and are due to be set up in the next few months.

About 50% of homes in rural Herefordshire only have access to the internet through dial-up.

‘Win-win situation’

Anni Holden, spokeswoman for the Hereford Diocese, said: “The thing which dominates the countryside is church spires, towers and steeples.

“The church is at the centre of the community to serve the community and this is a small way in which the community could be served.”

Participating churches receive £500 for hosting equipment, as well as free internet access.

Ms Holden described it as a “win-win situation” for churches and their communities.

She added that planning applications had to be approved by the diocese, but procedures had been streamlined.

“We are obviously custodians of a large number of grade-I and grade-II listed buildings, so it is always a concern when something is suggested that might change the appearance of those,” she said.

“But we have taken a very forward-looking approach. Here we are using medieval buildings to deliver 21st Century technology.”

Last year the government announced plans to provide every community in the country with access to super-fast broadband by 2015.

Those already online are being encouraged to share internet skills as part of a BBC campaign called Give An Hour.

In the last weekend in October, when the clocks go back, the BBC is challenging people to donate an hour to introduce someone to the internet.

It follows on from the First Click project, which encouraged about 500,000 people to get online for the first time