Additional protections for countryside welcomed

Changes to the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework which offer additional protection to the Greenbelt and countryside have been welcomed by local Conservatives in Bath and North East Somerset.

The revised Planning Policy Framework aims to streamline Britain’s planning system to boost economic growth and new house-building, whilst maintaining special protections for Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, Greenbelt and National Parks. The new framework reduces national planning policy guidance from over 1,000 pages to less than 60, making it simpler and more accessible for the public.

The new framework, published today, comes into effect immediately, though local councils will have a year to ensure their local planning blueprints accord with the document.

In response to public feed-back, the revised document now includes a specific presumption that priority should be given to building on brownfield rather than greenfield, and makes clear that Councils’ Local Plans take primacy in planning decisions.

Councillor Francine Haeberling, B&NES Conservative Group Leader, commented:

“We’re very pleased to see these additional protections for the Greenbelt and countryside included in the revised Planning Policy Framework. Alongside local residents, we’ve fought hard over recent years to ensure our area’s Greenbelt is from protected from urban sprawl, and we’re not about to back down from this.

“Having looked at the Coalition’s revisions to its planning framework, it should provide additional reassurance to residents that our Greenbelt remains protected and is not under threat. We particularly welcome the specific commitment to brownfield-first development, and the confirmation that the Council’s own local planning blueprint takes primacy in all planning decisions.

“This is particularly important for B&NES as Conservative councillors have ensured that the Greenbelt in our area is protected in the Council’s planning blueprint. At the same time, the new Planning Policy Framework streamlines the planning system and will make it easier for regeneration and development to take place where it has support.”