This is the core question at the heart of two proposed changes to planning policy across the whole region. The two draft Planning Policy Statements (PPS 23 and PPS 24) are out for consultation until 6 May 2011. The incoming Minister of the Environment will have the findings of the consultation on his or her desk shortly after taking up office. If the Minister decides to adopt the proposed changes it will alter the course of planning for years to come.
Draft PPS 24 is three sentences long and as such is one of the shortest Planning Policy Statements ever drafted. It simply proposes that "where the economic implications of a proposal are significant" then all social and economic issues can be outweighed. If approved, PPS 24 will effectively sit above all other Planning Policy Statements. Those submitting proposals under the new policy would be asked to set out the economic implications.
Draft PPS 23 is called Enabling Development and while more complicated than draft PPS 24 it is similar in intent. The draft proposes that a development proposal which "is contrary to established planning policy and … would not be permitted" may be allowed where it subsidises a development which:
- involves a place of heritage value (eg historic building, park or garden); or
- is of public benefit (eg social, health, leisure facilities); or
- removes "undesirable use" on land owned by the applicant.
We have prepared a summary of the two policy proposals and will send it to all members and other community groups interested in planning issues. We will also give advice to groups who are thinking about responding to the consultation.