New Planning Laws – Opening the Floodgates to Development?


Duncan Hartley, Director at Rural Solutions Planning and a former Chief Planning Officer in the public sector has called for calm as the Government confirms changes  to theUK’s planning system.

Commenting on the announcement about changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Mr Hartley said he didn’t believe it would lead to a radical revision of existing planning policy, or over-development of rural areas.

“The Communities and Local Government (CLG) select committee recognised the need to give priority to Local Plans in making planning decisions, and this has been reflected in today’s announcement,” he said. The Local Plan is the blueprint planning policy prepared by local authorities and used as a basis for local development decisions.

Although Mr Hartley recognised the concerns of the National Trust and Council for Protection of Rural England, he believes that the existence of Local Plans will ensure that the need for economic growth will be balanced with environmental and social considerations when planning decisions are made.

He added: “It would be worrying for a new national policy statement to be based solely on the need to achieve economic growth. However, the reality of local implementation, in line with firmly established Local Plans, will ensure this is not the case.

“The NPPF will bring forward new opportunities to enable effective land use in rural, and urban, areas for economic, social and environmental gain. It is critical that these opportunities are grasped by local rural communities, for example, to:

  • Significantly increase the supply of affordable housing;
  • Urgently address the need for attaining sustainable sources of energy; and
  • Release previously developed sites for new commercial and other uses. “

He added: “The immediate need is for local government to ensure it resources and delivers its plans. It is essential that they are adopted and kept up to date and in so doing the doom laden predictions for the destruction of our green and pleasant land will not become a reality.

“The NPPF is not an attack on the Local Plan process indeed it can be viewed as a ‘practice guide’ as it indicates how they should be produced and used positively to encourage appropriate local growth.”

For planning enquiries and advice please contact Rural Solutions Director of Planning Duncan Hartley on 0845 026 7914 or at

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Notes to Editors:

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Rural Solutions, the nationwide development and planning specialists, advises businesses in the rural sector on diversification opportunities. They help clients to understand the wider economic, social and environmental benefits of diversification as well as delivering projects through planning, construction and marketing processes. Rural Solutions also identifies how existing diversified businesses can adapt to future changes. Their knowledge and network enables Rural Solutions to continually develop to give their team an unrivalled perspective of diversification opportunities.

 The Concept to Completion service has the benefit of proving a single point of accountability, working alongside clients to develop proposals into viable projects and ensure delivery.

Rural Solutions Ltd, Heritage House, Broughton Hall, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 3AE t. 0845 3024766.

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