The Death of Localism?
It may be to early to be calling the death of Localism, but is the widespread leaking of the impending consultation draft National Planning Policy Framework another nail in the coffin? Or is it just another carefully judged way of securing comment prior to the release of the final document? Who knows? There is no doubt that the Government appear committed to using the planning system to help stimulate growth and have listened to the concerns of many that Localism and the changes being introduced would stifle development. If they stick to their guns and the document emerges from the consultation process in tact, then this is the biggest shake up of planning policy we have seen in decades. The presumption in favour of sustainable development is already being cited in applications and while this does not mean carte blanche for “any development anywhere” as some in the media suggest, it is perhaps the clearest policy shift towards a more pro-active approach to planning as a facilitator, not a constraint on development. It is arguably the best time in recent memory to be promoting development and meeting needs that have been stifled by the planning inertia of recent years. Is it ironic that it happens at a time when finance is still strangling the sector? Well perhaps, but isn’t it also exactly what this country needs?