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Reasons to be cheerful? Part One - Draft National Planning Policy Framework

After a busy summer and some national upheavals the national planning machinery is beginning to move ahead again. Key drafts are the Localism Bill and the National Planning Policy Framework.

I am particularly interested in the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as the Planning Inspectorate are already referring to it in their appeal decisions.

Although tipped as marking the end of planning as we know it by some, the content of the NPPF is not radical. A lot of it, such as the 'presumption in favour of development' was already within the 1947 Planning Act.

For us, the help to our clients' cases comes in the phrase 'In the absence of an up-to-date and consistent plan, planning applications shall be determined in accord with this framework (i.e. the NPPF), including its presumption in favour of sustainable development'. So a lack of a plan is more likely to mean a thumbs up for development, if not with the local authority, then at appeal.

Furthermore, in a recent appeal decision, this logic was taken further where an Inspector mentioned the NPPF in relation to what a local development plan did not say, using the silence as a negative to permit the development proposed. This might be helpful to your cases as an addition to making the usual positive statements on how the proposed development complies already.

Some reasons to be more cheerful. 


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