The #NPPF Top Trumps – A Weighty Game

We all loved Top Trumps as children and now as adults we can play the game to at public inquiries.  Trudy (CBE) Elliot of the RTPI pointed out the weighty issue of, wait for it, what weight to give to different language on the issue of weight.

In The DCLG Select committee report response the DCLG says they got it sorted.

My mate Andy Boddington in a hugely readible low down on the NPPF thinks hes got it sussed.

The NPPF gives the following weights to policies:

  • Significant weight: economic growth. It trumps:
  • Substantial weight: harm to green belt, which trumps:
  • Great weight: innovative design; schools; landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; conservation of wildlife and cultural heritage in National Parks and the Broads (NB: not AONBs); designated heritage assets; benefits of the mineral extraction, including to the economy. These trump:
  • Appropriate weight: protected wildlife or geodiversity sites or landscape areas

Though in the DCLG Select Committee Reponse it says significant means non insignificant so to my mind it should read, wait for it.

  • Great weight: innovative design; schools; landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; conservation of wildlife and cultural heritage in National Parks and the Broads (NB: not AONBs); designated heritage assets; benefits of the mineral extraction, including to the economy. These trump: 
  • Substantial weight: harm to green belt, which trumps: 
  • Significant weight: economic growth. These may trump (depending on national or local importance): 
  • Appropriate weight: protected wildlife or geodiversity sites or landscape areas
And of course under implementation arrangements adopted plans to be given their ‘due weight’.

Note in planning ‘Great Weight’ has always been traditionally considered more important than ‘Substantial Weight.’

The Treasury clearly didnt read it that carefully then  (note the NB omission above is quite correct)

Also love his ‘The Brownfield (not quite) First Test’

Interesting issue that Andy raises – does para.63 mean that ‘innovative design’ can be a ‘very special circumstance’.  One for the lawyers maybe.  My first instinct is yes.  No government has ever defined ‘very special’ and the last government said they never would as it is a matter for the decision maker.  Remember the consensus is that ‘very special’ does not mean ‘very rare’.

One for the lads (73?)

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3 thoughts on “The #NPPF Top Trumps – A Weighty Game

  1. Pingback: Bermondsey Councillors #NPPF Confusion over Money Shop Application – A Case Study for all Councillors #planorak « Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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