The Government’s Shift in Emphasis on the #NPPF – A Presumption against unsustainable development


Rebecca Harris (Castle Point) (Con): I appreciate that the Minister is saying that two thirds of council decisions are upheld, but is he aware that sometimes the Planning Inspectorate is used as bogeyman or fairy-tale villain by large-unit developers or town planners, and the effect is, “Come on councillors, be good children, hurry up with your local plan, put in large sections of greenbelt development; otherwise the Planning Inspectorate will get you”? Wittingly or unwittingly, the Planning Inspectorate is being abused in this way.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Stephen Williams: I hear what my hon. Friend says and she clearly has loud support for that.

Following your exhortation, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will skip the various examples I have of different planning appeals around the country. What I am saying today is that the Government are committed to doing

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far more to publicise those recent cases widely, to provide reassurance that unsustainable development should be resisted.

We will use the Planning Advisory Service to ensure that our message is clearly understood: the national planning policy framework does not stand for development at any cost. It promotes positive planning and sustainable development. We must ensure that councils have confidence to exercise their responsibilities for the benefit of their communities.